On more than one occasion, Ryan Adams has played solo acoustic gigs that consisted almost entirely of songs he wrote the afternoon of the show, and after his 2001 album, Gold, finally gave him an audience outside the small but rabidly enthusiastic alt-country scene, the very prolific Adams seemed to waste no time laying down as many songs as he possibly could. If one believes what one reads in New Musical Express, Adams cut about four albums' worth of material during sessions with various musicians and producers within the space of a year (not even counting the much talked about but to date unheard four-track recordings of blues versions of all the songs from the Strokes' debut disc, Is This It). Sensibly enough, Adams and his record company decided that releasing such a huge flood of material wasn't in the best interest of either artist or label, and instead Adams cherry-picked these sessions into a 13-track collection, Demolition. Appropriately enough, Demolition sounds less like "the third Ryan Adams album" than a collection of stray tunes -- some of which are very good, especially the lazy summer vibe of "Tennessee Sucks," the up-tempo acoustic twang of "Chin Up, Cheer Up," the winsome "Cry on Demand," and the heading-off-the-rails rocker "Starting to Hurt." But more than a few of the other songs on the album sound like rough drafts rather than completed works, and Demolition seems to lack a strong thematic or structural center. In short, Demolition sounds like a bunch of demos, which of course is just what it is, and while it preserves a few strong tunes and offers an insight into Adams' creative process, it also makes clear that even the rising wunderkind of Americana can benefit from a bit of judicious editing and polishing. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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