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CD review: Adam Rich, You cant escape life

Adam Rich can’t escape life, nor can he escape his love and passion for creating music.

“You Can’t Escape Life,” Rich’s second full-length album, is a true cultivation of all of his musical experiences, from both his solo career and participation in State of Green, Tadpol, and Girth over the past 15 years.

Although he is no singer, Rich plays both guitar, bass, and sometimes even drums for the album, featuring various vocal talents from other groups such as Atomic Crash, Pacemaker Jane and Andy Elias. What started with 25 copies of a four-track tape made in his basement, “Leave My Fish Alone,” has turned into an impressive 10-track album, full of a variety of rhythms, messages, and even genres.

The album starts off with a true showcase of Rich’s musical talents, with an upbeat instrumental piece, entitled “Frizzhead.”

Next is perhaps the weakest part of the album with “Perfect” and “You Can’t Escape Life.” Despite the interesting and personal lyrics of “Perfect” – “thanks for putting up with all my quirks and traits my half baked ideas and my stupid mistakes” – the vocals are less than desirable, and deviate away from the graceful melody Rich performs in the first track.

The same seems to be the case for “You Can’t Escape Life,” with the same rough and unmelodic vocal performance, as well as some cheesy lyrics like “Death is a part of life/ And life is a part of death.” Both of these songs also seem to have a more simplified melody than even the very first instrumental had, and don’t live up to Rich’s previous performances.

However, the rest of the album makes up for the weak start, with the strong vocal performances by Jared Levengood in “Vultures” and “Meteorology” and also the beautiful instrumentals of the last two tracks especially. Rich really takes the opportunity in these songs to show off his talents and connect to the music, by offering listeners something complex, soothing and riveting all at the same time.

The beginning of “Big Blue” is breathtaking, starting with the harsher, shorter crashing waves of the guitar riff, and then fading away into the calm swells of the musical ocean created through the deep melody. After the calm, intoxicating guitar of “Big Blue,” “Huh” takes listeners to the opposite end of the spectrum with a riveting and fast paced melody.

Perhaps the most interesting and unique lyrics of the entire album, are the carefree, comical words of “Go Away Mr. Telemarketer,” which despite the break from the more serious nature of the CD, provides an ample, and perhaps well needed comic relief from the more serious tones of death and purpose on the rest of the album. Brian May does a wonderful job expressing the emotions we all feel after we’ve just sat down to dinner after a long day at work, and hear that phone ringing in the background: “Go away Mr. Telemarketer/ stop calling me/ trying to eat my dinner/ won’t you let me be.”

Despite the rough beginning, the album offers three things a lot of artists currently don’t have a lot of: personality, uniqueness and experience. Rich has been out there doing what he does best, and has taken his experiences within a life full of music, and put it all together to create this album.

Although you may not be able to truly escape life, Rich’s album offers a musical road trip, to help escape the mundane nature of life, through his own stories and opinions on the topic. True, there are some bumpy roads to travel in the beginning, but in the end, it’s an adventure worth taking.

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