Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CD Review: Adam Gilbert's 'A Generation Of Forgotten Kings'

Adam Gilbert
A Generation Of Forgotten Kings

The piano-driven pop/rock concoctions in Adam Gilbert’s new release, A Generation Of Forgotten Kings, is an uplifting and emotive work of musical art.  The New Jersey-native lends his talents as a singer, songwriter, music director, and producer.  Adam presents thirteen songs that border on ballads with a classic rock vein, while including pop standards, gospel-tinged, R&B/down-tempo grooves that are not electronic, but firmly-rooted in bass, guitar, piano, and percussion.
“A Generation Of Forgotten Kings” opens with unaccompanied and non-descript vocals in an anthem-type format.  The mostly spoken vocals kick-in and a piano, percussion, and acoustic rock beat follows.  The lengthy and rhythmic Coldplay-esque drumming techniques and punchy piano overtures signify a large-scale, anthemic song with background, non-descript vocals throughout the louder parts.  There is a good variation with guitar accompaniment, piano, drums, vocals, and bass, which evokes what would happen if Queen and Coldplay formed a modern-day group together.
“How Do We Respond” opens with Adam’s clear vocals and an ever-increasing piano melody that is punchy and persistent.  A few guitar notes permeate the piano notes, before a percussive drum-kit adds another layer of complexity.  The shimmering guitar notes, thudding drums, and open air vocals provides an anthemic presence overall.  Of course, Coldplay signatures are not too far away with spacious, echoing vocals and lengthy guitar/piano arrangements.  The end of the song is more chaotic with crashing cymbals, energetic piano and guitars, and moving vocals.
“On A Hill” begins with a jaunty solo piano, but a jazzy, sauntering drum-kit enters with Adam’s classy vocals.  A guitar is added to the mix near the end of the song with a conglomeration of piano, vocals, percussion, and strings that signify a cinematic presence.  There is enough diversity to keep listeners appeased.
“Everywhere I Go” opens with a pensive, but classic pop standard piano melody and Adam’s smoky vocals.  The heartfelt vocals are joined by layered, back-up vocals and a sauntering, percussive beat.  The down-tempo groove merges into an R&B classic with smooth bass, clattering cymbals, and throaty vocals with bluesy guitar stylings later on.  This song is a small departure from other songs on the album, due to its raw, organic, and R&B sensibilities.
“Better” begins with a steady, punchy piano melody and soaring vocals.  The bass starts up and accompanies the fluttering piano notes.  A militaristic drum-beat appears for a few seconds, which morphs into a full-blown piano/rock ballad chorus.  Cinematic strings appear, as in some of the other songs.  The difference lies in the catchiness of the chorus that includes lush percussion, twinkling piano notes, and guitar work that blends in to various degrees.
Adam Gilbert’s new album, A Generation Of Forgotten Kings, contains a baker’s dozen of songs that finds recipes for success with lush piano melodies, ballad-esque arrangements, and spacious rock arrangements that soar into areas of pure beauty.  Adam’s vocals are more clear than both Queen and Coldplay, but not as rock-centric.  The vocals seem to match the complex percussion and lavish arrangements with ease.  The pop/rock sensibilities are matched by a good piano base, but nothing that overshadows the rest of the music.  For instance, the piano does not provide a sense of classical arrangements, but rather a jazzy inflection that is pure singer/songwriter material.  The use of guitars, piano, drums, bass, and violin are fairly rudimentary, but their tonal ranges are anything but limited.  Though, some of the songs are long-winded and repetitive in parts.  Adam’s songwriting is top-notch and all of the songs reflect a sense of introspection and hope.  Anyone with an interest in the music of Queen, Coldplay, and similar groups will find Adam’s new release worthwhile. ~ Matthew Forss    

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