The Murky World of Barry Adamson collects the best of the former Bad Seed's solo recordings. Adamson's moody, filmic songs mix sex and menace with impenetrable cool, especially on "The Vibes Ain't Nothing But the Vibes" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," both from his 1996 album Oedipus Schmoedipus. Along with selected tracks from every album from Moss Side Story to As Above, So Below, The Murky World of Barry Adamson also includes three previously unreleased tracks: "Walk the Last Mile," "Mitch & Andy," and "Saturn in the Summertime." Murky World is a delectable sampler of Adamson's dark musical talents.
Other people's songs have long been a staple for Bob Dylan, who first made his name in Greenwich Village by singing folk songs in the early '60s and often returned to old tunes as the years rolled by. Sometimes, he'd dip into the pre-WWII collection of standards known as the Great American Songbook, peppering set lists with unexpected selections as early as the '80s and even covering Dean Martin's "Return to Me" for The Sopranos in 2001, and he's made no secret of his affection for old-fashioned crooning on the records he's made since 2001's Love and Theft, but even with this long history of overt affection for pre-rock & roll pop, the existence of 2015's Shadows in the Night might come as a surprise.
Barry Adamson doesn't shy away from melodrama on Stranger on the Sofa, his ninth solo album. "Here in the Hole" is the kind of spoken-word narrative you either embrace or laugh at– there's no in-between. Over bursts of static and gyroscoping feedback that flits in and out of view like a searchlight pointed skyward, Anna Chancellor's brittle upper-crust English accent intones a weird sci-fi narrative stuffed with lines like "They believe I know everything because my master's memory serves me well/ In fact, I know nothing" and "I operate a program of self-denial, yet languish in polymorphous perversity as is my wont" and "I'm hunted for my flesh/ I'm hounded for my beauty."