Adam Stafford – ‘Build A Harbour Immediately’

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

I am just going to get this right out of the way before I even delve into the greatness of ‘Build A Harbour Immediately’. It is one of my most anticipated records in some years and everything from its writing, performance to production makes it a masterpiece.

A bold statement to kick off a review with, but many will agree with me and I will try to be as coherent as possible in the delivery of my love for ‘Build A Harbour Immediately’. Adam Stafford formerly of Y’all Is Fantasy Island is well known for his list of talents which cover so many different art forms. This record is not so much a departure from his YIFI work, but more of a culmination of the sonic journey he has travelled.

I first heard ‘Shot Down You Summer Wannabes’ last year in a live session Adam came into the Podcart Hub for. He performed it live on a cigarette themed small amp with a loop pedal and several other bits and pieces. His voice was the highlight instrument of the performance and I sat looking in awe. On record this does not disappoint, nor does it take from the curious magic of the live performance. The vocal backing track he has conjured is like an invitation through small cracks into the exquisite mind of this gentleman. When Adam begins to sing it is like you have walked into a Gospel Church and the lead has started preaching to the world in a way that rattles your skeletal frame till it shakes to dust. His octave range is frankly astounding; it has a rich tranquillity and comforting hold over you. ‘Shot Down You Summer Wannabes’ commits to its wizardry by daring to go to places that far exceed your expectations.

The title track of the album is both breathtaking and life-affirming. A man has a special gift when he can take a guitar and create passages that tap into your emotional nervous system like hammers hitting steel strings inside a grand piano. Listening to this song on headphones is what you imagine it to be like in that transition between life and death. You know that imaginary portal that is supposed to be full of colour and wonder. ‘Build A Harbour Immediately’ is a rousing showcase of Stafford’s captivating technical talent. There must also be notable cap doffing to Paul Savage of Chem 19 who has helped augment this into a vast exploration of electronic, pop, alternative allurement.

Adam Stafford has the ability to test your perceptions, your opinions and take your listening safety net away with this album. Collectively it is one of the most influential headphones moments I have had the pleasure of embarking on. His vocals paint pictures that make you quietly ecstatic and this is one of the most intensely private and personal works I have listened to in some time. Like Bjork’sVespertine’ and Radiohead’sKid A’, this will be slotted firmly in as one of the albums of my generation.

Halina Rifai

You can buy the album digitally: HERE!

Adam Stafford launches the album tonight (August 20th) at Glasgow’s Stereo care of Peenko & Ayetunes. Support comes from Miaoux Miaoux & Mondegreen!