A Face Like Mine
Reviewed by: Ziggy Merritt
“What in the world can a good man do?” These words are oft repeated throughout the opening track of Americana singer-songwriter Peter Bradley Adams’ sixth album. That album, A Face Like Mine, may well be his most contemplative in years if not his most immediately impactful. Here, his lyrics explore the common themes of loss, love, and distance with each element magnified by youthful, nuanced vocals that wisely remain poignant and crystal clear throughout.
In that quest for clarity, this album exudes a quiet sort of desolation. Much of the instrumentation -often delicate touches of banjo and guitar- is stripped down, rising in occasional swells to propel Adams’ voice. Ambient textures give additional weight to some of the album’s darker, downtempo passages with “Lorraine” and “Who Else Could I Be” being particularly emblematic of that production. With his latest, Adams isn’t afraid to explore the darkness of his expressive poetics. As such, A Face Like Mine is an album that crystallizes Americana’s unique ability to meld aspects of pop, bluegrass, folk, and country into something melancholic and inspiring.
That brand of inspiration comes to a head in the album’s two definite standouts of “My Arms Were Always Around You” and “We Are.” Both infuse a ribbon of pop to better lend themselves to simple but effective hooks that exude a sense of warmth and comfort. “We Are” is quieter in its delivery of this but edges out ahead as a favorite for its unpretentious inclusiveness. “My Arms” nevertheless shines in its final swell of faded-out electric guitar and percussion that gives purpose and depth to one of the album’s true love songs. Each track has that a similar thoughtfulness to it; a restraint that allows the listener to fill in the emptiness with their own emotions. A Face Like Mine proves, at the very least, a good man can create great things.