Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Adrian H and The Wounds is a three-piece band consisting of Adrian H (piano/vocals), Shiggy Nakano (bass) and Doug Layon (drums). The band certainly carved out their own niche sound on their recent release Pipe. It’s dark themed music that oozes cabaret and noir themes while embracing organic and electronic instrumentation. Adrian H has a deep, raspy voice that I’m sure gets compared to Tom Waits fairly often. That being said Adrian H has his own thing going on but if you can’t hear some of Tom Waits in there you should listen to Rain Dogs.
The EP opens with “Dansin In Japon.” It starts with an electronic beat the gets layered with bass, piano, organ and even a short vocal sample. The dark noir themes are immediately thrust into existence. Adrian H has unique, ambiguous lyrics that feel utterly original. He sings, “two plus two is the most I can take / she was in charge she led the brigade / multiple shots for multiple babes.” The song starts to climax towards the end with cascading vocal parts and quick build ups and releases.
That bass line on “The Dog and The Rat” kept on making me think of Joy Division. The song is one of the highlights, which does a great job at combining organic elements like piano with mind bending bass synths. “Pipe” is arguably the most ominous sounding song between the organ, drone-like synth and repeated lyric “when I die.” Although the song is undeniably dark Adrian H and the boys set up an atmosphere where you can easily revel and celebrate in its shadow.
If the band has an upbeat, dare I say even motivational sounding song it would go to “Strut.” The breakdown they have a little over a minute in with the army style snare drumming is on point. They close with “Special K” which gets down in the trenches of noir. I could practically picture the detective who has been on the job way too long smoking a cigarette and driving around in a gloomy dilapidated city.
Adrian H and The Wounds is a band for those of us that prefer the fringe over regurgitated mainstream pop. Their music is hardly conventional but that's not the only reason you should enjoy them. The fact is their songs are well thought out, well written and executed liked seasoned professionals. This band is the real deal.
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