(Originally written for Faded Glamour. I’ve been slacking recently yes, but I’m gradually getting on top of everything! I’m off to see Miles Kane tonight, so await a review in the next few days!)
An often occuring discussion between me and friends is how certain artists suit seasons. And at the forefront of the argument is often Ryan Adams, whose newest release ‘Ashes & Fire’ is a god send for the forthcoming season of cold nights, rainy days and hot chocolate.
Opening with ‘Dirty Rain’, the raw power of Adams’ voice alone is the first thing to catch you, yet its his honest lyrics coupled with that delivery that sends shivers down the spine. And thankfully, the same can be said for the rest of the album.
On titular track ‘Ashes & Fire’, the true evocative nature of the words shines through as Adams sings “Drowning in the river of tears, oh the river she cried, left her with her heartmade of ashes and fire”, soundtracking the broken heartened as he does so well. ‘Come Home’ is deperately emotional, with pleas stooped in love and desperation, creating a blissfully beautiful track.
This theme of love and loss continues on ‘Do I Wait’ with Adams questioning “Do I wait here forever for you? Did you ask me to?” Delivered with such conviction in his voice it ends the song almost ethereally, as it fades into the fantastically catchy ‘Chains Of Love’, which thunders along wonderfully as the first flurries of true love and its enchantments are reconted.
‘Save Me’ sees more of the plea led vocals, as we descend into a world Adams claims he’ll be gone by the morning, set to a blustering array on instruments and emotion. The next track teaches us all a life lesson, whilst sounding completely and utterly beautiful. “Kindness don’t ask for much but an open mind” is something we could all apply, and follows yet more heartbreaking gems in the form of “Kindness can cure a broken heart, honey are you feeling kind?”. And ending on th eternal question, Do you believe in love?, is enough to melt the coldest heart, or warm the coldest night.
Perhaps the most poignant moment comes on ‘Lucky Now’, with the heartwrenching lyric “Let the lights draw you in and the dark can take you down, and love can mend your heart, only if you’re lucky now’. Segueing into the final track, ‘I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say’, Adams ends it earnestly, full of promises and words that are often left unsaid. And ending the album on that lyric alone (“I love you but I don’t know what to say”) is a thing of pure beauty.