Friday, March 11, 2022

Adam Norsworthy - Infinite Hotel

Eclectic.  Smorgasbord.  Singular.  Elusive.  These are some of the words that spring to mind listening to Infinite Hotel.
Sophisticated pop-rock is how I might describe this solo outing from Adam Norsworthy, sometime main man with The Mustangs and guitarist with The Milk Men.  But that’s just an umbrella term for this selection box of material.
‘Bridges To The Moon’ launches proceedings with a solid beat, courtesy of drummer and producer Wayne Proctor, as the platform for a brace of catchy, fuzzy riffs, augmented by some Sputnik-bleeping keys.  There are injections of Stonesy “woo-hoo” vocals for extra seasoning,
Adam Norsworthy raises a cain
and a neat slaloming slide break too.  All of which is, for me, appealingly reminiscent of Del Amitri’s ‘Always The Last To Know’.  But is all the material on Infinite Hotel in this vein?  It is not.
The following ‘Now I’ve Got Your Love’, combines another sturdy drum groove with a two-finger-typing synthy riff and some chiming, choppy rhythm guitar in catchy fashion.  Add in a tense vocal and mellow keys, and the end result is disarmingly akin to a slice of 80s pop by – the Thompson Twins?  And if that doesn’t do it for you, don’t worry, because there’ll be something different along in a minute.
For example, my favourite track is ‘Rise With You’.  Here the dreamy acoustic vibe, supplemented by long organ chords, is sporadically interrupted by booming drum fills, until the guesting Oli Brown takes off on a controlled, Gilmour-esque solo that gives the song an epic, standout quality.  Meanwhile ‘In Time I Will Forget You’ is on one level an Aynsley Lister-like bluesy ballad, but on another, as Norsworthy semi-croons his vocal, it reaches for a more other-worldly vibe.  But I’m left thinking that if his singing had a more sonorous, Bowie-ish quality, the song could be much more striking.  This is not a fly-by-night perception.  Norsworthy has a perfectly tuneful voice, but it’s also light and at times even rather winsome, and though the production spices it up here and there with double-tracking or distortion, I could wish for more punch and resonance throughout.
The musicianship is impressive throughout though, as you’d expect with the likes of Proctor on drums, Bennett Holland on keys plus Rich Young on piano, and Brown performing bass duties in addition to a couple of lead guitar turns.  They produce some tastefully textured arrangements together, especially on ‘Turn Your Love Around’, with its Santana-toned guitar, and ‘Lost In The Cinema’ with its descending ripple of piano and dinky bass line.  Meanwhile ‘Jericho’ is another highlight, with its rootsy pop vibe – think Hothouse Flowers, maybe – and ‘You’re My Song’ bounces along in cheerfully snappy fashion.
There are a couple of folk-influenced tunes that aren’t really my cup of meat, but this is a question of taste, not quality.  And in fact that’s the story of Infinite Hotel for me: lots of admirably well-constructed, melodic songs, stylishly delivered – but in need of more intense flavours to really satisfy my rustic palate.
Infinite Hotel is out now, and can be ordered here.

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