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London WC2 12-Bar Club

After spending virtually an entire year tinkling ivories across the globe with [a]Mercury Rev[/a], one could excuse [B]Adam Snyder[/B] a lengthy period of rest, recuperation and generally forgetting h

London WC2 12-Bar Club

After spending virtually an entire year tinkling ivories across the globe with [a]Mercury Rev[/a], one could excuse Adam Snyder a lengthy period of rest, recuperation and generally forgetting how to play the intro to 'Goddess On A Hiway'. Then again, if anything constitutes getting away from it all, a solo gig in this venerable licensed broom cupboard would do the trick. Compared to the Rev's widescreen grandeur, this is a return to box-camera basics.



Throughout their everlasting trek, the Rev proclaimed that it was only the prospect of playing their music every night that kept the ship on an even keel, so Snyder's recourse to some low-key board-treading comes as no real surprise. But given his essentially supporting role in that group, whatever he does here is bound to intrigue.



Turns out this is a gentle muse, one soft-spoken man with guitar and a ready supply of contemplative, often whimsical folk tunes around which it's easy to wrap a sympathetic arm. Tales of growing up in Kingston, Long Island, nestle alongside playful swipes at the pre-eminence of computers and a protest ballad pricking the white liberal consensus on race like a less didactic Jackson Browne. Oh, and some stuff about girls, all sung in a high voice that's callow but sweet and credible.



For half the set he's joined by a rhythm section, plus an occasional harmonica player, and together they help usher these East Coast musings deep into dustbowl territory. Asking questions and searching for answers in American music's mythic soul, just like his 'other' band, Adam Snyder's presence is undeniably mercurial, but welcome nonetheless.

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