Eric and the Adams plays it safe with their debut — but that’s quite all right
3.5 out of 5 stars
ERIC AND THE ADAMS
Eric and the Adams
When out gay rocker Eric Himan joined forces with Angel and Jimmy Adams, it was a musical match made in heaven. With complementary styles, the newly configured Eric and the Adams garnered decent success and notoriety in a short time. Now, they start their next chapter with their self-titled debut album.
In their new five-song disc, the band shows they wanna rock, especially with opening track, "Sugar You Ain’t So Sweet," a workable mix of blues, Southern rock and radio-ready pop. Although they echo the Black Crowes, it ends up playing lighter. They want to burst out of the gate with "Sugar," but it’s mostly a template heard before.
Track two fares way better and gives insight to the band’s potential. "Frozen in the Sun" is a tragic song of dying love. Himan straddles poetically between literal and metaphoric death and sings with earnest that is close to heart wrenching. "Frozen" would have fit perfectly in the old City of Angels soundtrack that featured some hit making ’90s alterna-pop a la Alanis Morrissette and Goo Goo Dolls. This should be the EP’s next single.
Instead, right now the band is pushing "Every Move" with an accompanying video. It’s another love-obsessive single that plays Gin Blossoms style. Himan has some dark perspectives behind that sweet face and he knows how to set them to music.
The EP plays well but reflects back to the safe sound of the mid-’90s. The band is never as dangerous as they want us to believe, but the band is solid and this is a step to finding their sound.
It’s partly there with Himan’s voice. He is reminiscent of Glenn Tillbrook with a distinctive sound that can’t be mistaken, but he should explore some of his different registers. As the lone guitar player, he displays amazing versatility, especially in the CD’s closer "Keeper of the Secret" which begins with a hint of Led Zeppelin influence.
Eric and the Adams start off nicely if slightly on the risk-free side. They need to break away from the listener recalling other bands. Once they leap into the darker territory they flirt with here, they should be able to remind us of one thing: Themselves. •
Lady of rock
Inked bi rocker Patrice Pike bides her time on the road to stardom
We have our Texas music favorites — Willie Nelson, Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators, Erykah Badu — to list a few. When Patrice Pike joins that list of Lone Star natives gone big, then everyone else will know what we’ve known for some time now: This Texas lady is rock greatness.
Both modern and classic, she plays with the vocal confidence of old school Linda Ronstadt and writes emotionally complex songs akin to the Avett Brothers. And although she’s yet to hit the big(ger) time, she seems to bide her time with elegant patience, even when she’s had her moments in the national spotlight.
Pike had a Billboard top 10 with her band Sister 7, she won the grand prize in the 2004 USA Songwriting Competition and in 2006, made strides in the reality competition show, Rockstar Supernova, despite being eliminated before the final round.
Even with these high moments, the Booker T. Washington alum — and Badu classmate — continues to play with that patience most indie artists don’t have. Pike has a sizable following in Texas but superstar fame hasn’t distracted her from creating intelligent and soulful music like her near perfect 2006 album, Unraveling.
Not that we don’t want to see her shoot into the stratosphere, but right now, we, as in Texas, still like having this rocker chick to ourselves and we’ll share with the rest of the world when the time is right. •
Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. $15. PartyAtTheBlock.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 11, 2009.