The Bursting Sheaf
Performer: John Amadon
Distributed By: Hirngespinst Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Moving from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon in 1991, John Amadon made his mark on the music scene with The Young Eduardians in 1998, a band formed with Disc Jockey Gregarious and Justin Thorpe. Shortly afterwards, Amadon became a bassist in the band Fernando. In 2002, John Amadon made his solo singer/songwriter debut with the album Qwee. This was followed up in 2004 with Forget to Remember. After a four year hiatus from the music scene, Amadon returned with the release of Seven Stars in 2010. Three years later, John Amadon has released a new album on his personal label, Hirngespinst Records, called The Bursting Sheaf.
In this follow-up record, Amadon reunites with those who helped him create Seven Stars, including Scott McPherson and Mike Coykendall. According to Amadon, this album is a continuation of his work on Seven Stars: "In a lot of ways itís a continuation from my last record. I didnít feel done, so I just kept on working. There really was only a pause of about a month between the recording of the two records so they both came out of the same creative stream."
The album starts out with a rocking instrumental piece called Saltwater Crocodile. If this track doesn't get you bobbing your head and playing air guitar, I don't know what will. The rest of the album follows the John Amadon format, both lyrically and instrumentally. Though less about love than the last album, The Bursting Sheaf does discuss relationships in various forms. Once again, the singer/songwriter offers up a visual perspective in his lyrics, both directly and metaphorically.
The vocals are reminiscent of Neil Young and the music floats back and forth between 70s folk rock and today's alternative, giving the album a sort of timeless feel. The lyrics are mesmerizing and you will find yourself playing tracks over and over again just to make sure you caught the entire song's meaning.
There are some really standout tracks on this album. Though the entire song is good, I simply loved this line from Set Stone, a song about someone who just doesn't seem willing to change: "If I'm going to hell at least it's a short march." Not quite sure what it is that tickles me about that line, but I have to smile every time I hear it. Then there's the rocking Sisters of the Horizon, a track with a great deal of metaphorical meaning and amazing guitars and percussion. The acoustic guitar driven Oaths is quite haunting and Two Hunters is quite the interesting tale.
All-in-all, I would say that The Bursting Sheaf is an excellent follow-up to Seven Stars, offering up more of John Amadon's thought-provoking lyrics. The music is different, sometimes folksy, sometimes rocking, but always sounding very professional and highly enjoyable. Fans of Amadon's last album rejoice: The Bursting Sheaf is more of the stuff you've been craving from John Amadon.