Deano Adams – ‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’:
One of a pair of albums released simultaneously by Sand Rabbit’s Deano Adams, ‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’ is a collection of acoustic songs recorded back in 2008. That it’s taken four years to come out is down to the relaxed attitude of Deano and engineer Delvi$ (a production alias of Del Vegas of recently reformed Hastings band The Candys). It’s in the can, but we’ll put it out when we feel like it, seems to be the mindset.
It’s long been my belief that Deano is one of the region’s finest songwriters, deserving of wider recognition but not hugely interested in pushing for it, and ‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’ cements this claim. His previous albums (one with Sand Rabbit, and two with Rumiko Jr/Donkey Kong Jr) form a consistent body of work, exploring the emotional and social realities of growing up on this neglected stretch of the coast. Drinking and skating feature heavily, and this continues here on ‘Bones Heal and Chicks Dig Scars’, with its references to the Backyard Jam and “a good time in the Old Town tonight”.
I ought to qualify that belief with the admission that I’ve known Deano socially since he was a teenager, sharing flatspace with him in numerous chaotic houses of multiple occupation and helping to put out his earliest bands’ music. Indeed, the second of the two albums mentioned above, Fire Ant’s ‘Akai the Axe’, is a playful set of 80s influenced electronic instrumentals recorded with my brother, and former Rumiko Jr member, Michael. I just count myself fortunate to have seen Deano’s talents develop as we all grew up.
For a home-recorded album, ’Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’ sounds impressively rich, thanks to Del’s spacious, echoing mix. The predominant mood is sunburnt country, with Deano’s Sand Rabbit bandmates Jim Board and Danielle Wadey adding rich Nashville guitars and prairie harmonies, but odd arrangements, drum programs and upbeat alt-pop all feature.
It’s a fine counterpart to Rumiko Jr’s second album ‘Haunting the Townsfolk’, recorded around the same time (‘Barefeet and Bleeding’ turns up, in different form, on the same records). Several of the songs here (‘The One to Bury Me’, ‘Steps from the Shadow’, ‘Settle Down’) are some of the finest ballad work of any album released this year, and it’s testament to Deano’s ongoing commitment to pop craftsmanship that he wasn’t fussed about leaving them in the cupboard for so long.
There’s always a better song to write. Get them down, and move on.
‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’, Fire Ant’s ‘Akai the Axe’ and other Sand Rabbit and Rumiko Jr CDs are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Stu for submitting this review. If you’d like to send in your own original local music reviews, please contact us.