This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001
A review of his album 'Across the pond'
Most write-ups about Adam Snyder begin by mentioning that he's a great guy. I've decided to follow that pattern because Adam genuinely is one of those rare great guys in the music business. Hailing from across the big pond in a place best known as the New York area, Adam is primarily known for two reasons: He's that great guy that I already mentioned, and he was the keyboardist in Mercury Rev during their Deserter's Songs period.
Knowing Adam's recent musical background it's interesting to note that he only plays keyboards for two songs on Across the Pond. One of these is the standout track "Daddy Song". Utilising only vocals and piano, each sparse note drips a tear in this heart-wrenching song about parental separation. The lyrics are the words of a father as spoken to a child of unknown sex and age who is visiting for the first time after the separation. The father in the story has moved on, and in the end the child must leave so that the father can continue his own life. It's absolutely superb in its simplicity. Adam knows the nuances of touch and dynamic and refuses to overkill any song on the album.
The other keyboard-led song, "Until It Comes", easily indicates Adam's influence on Mercury Rev. With just piano and cello as a backdrop, the song is a soft sob sliding slowly through to hope and potential happiness. 'Bare Bones' is the standout guitar-led song. Here a family is found happy and healthy albeit without 'standard' possessions such as a TV, VCR or car. Adam's vocal inflections alone indicate the mental struggle the family is going though while trying to accept their situation in life. Tossing in the occasional harmonica, banjo, or accordion, the remainder of the album continues Adam's earthy observation of the heart of America. A major influence in his lyrical visions is the writer Walt Whitman as signposted by the song 'Leaves of Grass'. Adam's music would loosely fall into the Alt-Country genre.
Across the Pond is as friendly, accessible, and likable as the man behind the music. Oh yea, did I mention Adam once lived in Iowa. No wonder he's a great guy!