It is wrong to expect only the best from the highly talented and visionary, Sufjan Stevens? Stevens is one of the few singer-songwriters that bestows me with rare gifts, as if kept safe for centuries before seeing light. So I guess it’s no secret that I am expecting grand things from The Age of Adz (pronounced ‘odds’) – Stevens’ latest release.
The Age of Adz
Release Date: October 8
Opening with “Futile Devices” the ornate and delicate Steven aesthetic is in full swing – it’s effortless with his vocals hushed through like a soft blow of wind. “Too Much” follows with surprising awkwardness perhaps a little excessive in its heavily-layered structure. The title track “Age of Adz” felt more Grizzly Bear in its grandeur than Sufjan Stevens at the best of times. The bass in “Get Real Get Right” is heavy and dramatic contrasting the flowery accents. Eight tracks in, Stevens delivers his best with “Vesuvius” – a euphoric explosion of ornament, technical exploration and vocal anthems executed with the skill only associated with Stevens. “All For Myself” followed and exuded with ephemerality in it’s lo-fi and ghostly bellows.
It was evident in The Age of Adz that technical exploration was more precedent than conceptual rigor. The sounds that were unfamiliar were simply out of place for Stevens. Those that were familiar felt right at home reducing The Age of Adz to a hit-and-miss album. It didn’t scream ambitious like the previous The BQE or Come On Feel the Illinoise. None the less, it was still highly imaginative and I must give Stevens due credit for that alone.