Stepping away from his normal day gig with San Francisco’s Two Gallants, Adam Haworth Stephens has recruited an indie all-star line-up to help him on his first solo album, including Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers/Jaguar Love), Andy Cabic (Vetiver), and Patrick Hallahan and Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), among others. And while all the guests help Stephens create a fine album, We Live on Cliffs suffers not from a lack of talent or the music itself, but from the bar that has been continually raised with each of Two Gallants releases.
For a band that exploded out of the gate as quickly as Two Gallants, dazzling with each of its three full albums, they seemed to suddenly disappear just as quickly as they arrived. So any scent of music from the duo was sure to spark excitement. And it is this excitement and anticipation that spelled doom for Stephens’ maiden solo album.
We Live on Cliffs stays true to the Two Gallants sound; a gritty, bare-boned take on indie Americana. But despite the presence of the aforementioned guests, it falls flat at times without ever taking flight, its recycled sounds shying from Stephens best work with Two Gallants
Stephens still emotes with the same heartfelt passion and intensity on We Live on Cliffs, but without his usual bandmate, something just isn’t right.
We Live on Cliffs is out now on Saddle Creek.