Some Nice Things People Have Said
Bread. That’s what I thought while listening to Adam Bernstein’s latest album, The D n A Singles. When we were kids in the 70’s, Bread was like The Carpenters: a soft-rock band that put out catchy pop music and was perceived by critics as somehow lesser because of its commercial success. In the 80’s, we laughed at Bread. Then again, much of what we listened to in the 80’s sounds far more dated than Bread or The Carpenters at their most mediocre. We can grasp now that Bread was a top-shelf pop group that took a Beatlesque knack for unforgettable melodies and applied it to a more acoustic-based guitar/piano backing.
Adam has been at this a long time, through the early 90’s with the rollicking hippie collective All God’s Children, to various stints as side man with people like David Driver and Jonathan Coulton, and a handful of solo albums released in the 00’s whenever he could scare up the studio time and inspiration to record on his own. While each album has shown progress, The D n A Singles feels like a great leap forward. I’m reminded of George Harrison busting out on All Things Must Pass, releasing all that stored up creative energy from being a side man all those years.
He’s found a place musically where all his influences come through: Lennon, McCartney, Wilson, Rundgren, Nilsson, Chilton, Carmen, etc. I’m glad that he found money enough to hire a string section for certain songs (“Always,”) and am willing to bet he did the arrangements himself. I was surprised how seamlessly he was able to fuse Indian tabla, strings, organ and electric guitar all through “I Wanna Go with You.” My favorite track of the album, “Like the Sun Loves the Moon” rolls out like a logical follow-up to Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.”
Easily sandwiched between Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone' and the Beatles 'Hey Jude'..
- The Courier News
Led by bassist Adam Bernstein, whose influences lie more in classic jazz arrangers like Sun Ra and Charles Mingus, uses those influences to beef up an addicting style of pop.
- Internet Music Service
The songs written by Bernstein resonate amongst those of us who are trapped in the concrete jungle. The memories of lost loves, unattained loves and desired loves flood all who listen with images of their own experience.
- Vos Valley News
Bernstein provides fine original songs including "Room For The New" and "Long Way Down."
Adam Bernstein has the pop sensibilities of someone who has listened to the best pop music of the last 40 years and digested it. He's created a record that is catchy and finely crafted, without being flawless and sterile. His lyrics are alternately cosmic, funny, and charmingly down-to-earth.
- Bob Cohen
Wilson, Nilsson, Costello and Lennon...add Adam Bernstein to the list. What a find!!!
- L. Pettine
I discovered Adam Bernstein's music quite serendipitously, but, boy, what a find! Everything on "Yo Mama Yo" is brilliant. The writing, arrangements, performances, and production all excel. AB's songs are delightfully tuneful, with enough melodic and chordal surprises to keep listeners on their toes. The band are lively and cohesive, and they play with great sensitivity. Sound quality is crisp and clear. Fans of melodic, intelligent pop (think Lennon, Neil Finn, etc.) will delight. Clearly the work of a master craftsman of song!
Jonathan Coulton, along with bassist Adam Bernstein and drummer Christian Cassan are remarkable musicians, effortlessly running through a set which would have put lesser bands on their backs and proving that a colossal work ethic is as much a part of nerd music as intellect and self deprecation.
Great singer-songwriter pop, with great melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Somewhere in between Mead/Rouse/Johnston, Ben Folds (more in the manner of sensibility rather than piano) Steven Mark, Paul Schneider and Joe Ongie. Highlight track: "The Poets of Avarice". This one has serious year-end list potential.