Album review – Adaline, Modern Romantics
– by Shawn Conner
Modern Romantics comes three years after Adaline‘s 2008 debut, Famous for Fire. Fortunately, the album shows three years’ of growth.
The Adaline of Modern Romantics is almost a completely different beast; gone is Famous for Fire‘s embryonic artist still finding her voice. Accomplished, worldly, and sophisticated, the new record sounds more like a third album than a second; it’s as though Adaline, aka Shawna Beesley, wrote and scrapped a whole other record before getting to this one.
Video – The Making of Adaline‘s Modern Romantics:
It’s also, perhaps, the difference between a record recorded on a shoe-string budget in her hometown (Vancouver) and a bigger-budgeted project (the record is on Light Organ, distributed by Universal) recorded in a music centre (Toronto) with an experienced producer (Hawksley Workman produced nine of the tracks). A transatlantic, room-filling sound of software-honed beats, clubby atmospherics and rhythm-tooled melodies predominate on the record’s strongest tracks, including “Rebels of Love”, “Sparks”, “Lovers Collide”, “The Noise” and “Stereo”. Adaline has cited British artists like Goldfrapp and Bat for Lashes as inspirations for the sound, and it shows; Florence and the Machine fans should also check out the record.
Still, Modern Romantics does sacrifice some of the innocent charms of the singer in its rush to maturity. But that’s growing up for you.
Adaline plays the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver tonight (Nov 5) and the El Mocambo in Toronto Nov 12.
Read our 2009 Adaline interview about her encounter with everyone’s favourite sparkly vampire, Robert Pattinson.