So there’s this guy. He’s 25, lives in Walla Walla and draws comic books. He also makes music. A lot of music. His latest album-the 43rd, by the way-Abyssian Squelch dropped while his 44th release was still in production. Oh, and he writes, produces, composes, and publishes everything on his own, including the artwork. He is an iconoclast living in the heart of the DIY culture. World, meet Adam Lore.
Using stylophones, toy pianos, melodicas, music boxes, drum machines, casiotone keyboards, guitars, and 8-bit sound effects, to name just a few, Lore delivers an album that is strangely both synthetic and organic. Overall, these old-school sounds provide a nostalgic undercurrent which is highlighted by the deeply emotional lyrics. In short, Squelch is brilliant, and surprisingly refined. Although it contains the warm lo-fi aura you may expect, it does not sound like he recorded it in his brother’s garage. Make no mistake about it, the songs DO sound hand-made, but not unstructured. The genius of the album is the way it grows on you. It is a subtle and rare form of art that is not immediately self-evident, undressing itself slowly, revealing more after each listen, as it sheds its layers like babushka doll being discovered by a child for the first time.
This deeply introspective and sincere album swirls with whimsy and nostalgia, loneliness and desperation, goofiness and hope. The songs seem to simultaneously draw inspiration from Daniel Johnston, The Flaming Lips, Page France and They Might Be Giants. In some instances, there is a hint of Modest Mouse and Jeffrey Lewis, but it is consistently original and underived.
The music is endearing and charming, and though it may sound childish to half-attentive ears, it truly is profound and honest poetry both lyrically and musically. It is the type of beauty that emerges slowly, as each listen becomes more coherent.
Lore opens with "Tree Of You," an instrumental, playing just keyboards backed by a frenetic drum machine. It's an uplifting short piece. Immediately following this is "Particle Target," a cute and esoteric song dedicated to the Large Hadron Collider.
The third track, “My Heart Is On Mars”, is a bit heavier. In this melancholy song about cosmic disembodiment, he tells it like it feels as he sings about social and romantic disconnection: “My heart is on Mars/My lungs are on Pluto/My liver is on Mercury/I sent my brain to Jupiter.” Yet provides an uplifting resolution, as he repeats this over and over: “But it’s not there yet/It’s its way/Because they’re worth it/Because they’re worth it.”
On “A Million Times”, an innocent and forlorn track, he bellows, “I’ve been in love a million times/I’ve been alone so long it’s a miracle I’m still alive/So many broken hearts and old forgotten dreams/But somehow it’s all meant to be.”
On, “Toads In The Castle”, Lore harmonizes with himself on a high-pitched backing track that sounds like a theremin. “Hyperglass” is a wonderfully fun song you will likely find yourself singing days later. Though he is the sole performer, it feels like old 50s style of doo wop/MoTown song mixed with some indie-love.
The final number, “Quite Alright”, is a cute but honest, and a well-rounded finisher. He sings “Even you never love me, I’ll still think youre cute”, amid a backdrop synthesizers, keyboards and drums, and feels like a sunset song.
These songs are hard to pin down, so it is best to let the music to the talking. This is the official and definitive album preview put together by the man himself. You should know immediately if this is your cup of tea, and will hopefully find that it is quite alright indeed.
Abyssian Squelch is a dense and dreamy album, making this delightful gem a true keeper. It is full of wit and charm. Mr. Lore an exciting discovery, and gives us lots to look forward to.
We give this album 9,987 McGivnies.
In addition to music and art, you can view several funny, intelligent and articulate videos of his on Youtube on a variety of topics that range from the mundane to the surreal. Further, if you like his music, you must check out his Last.FM page where he generously provides several of his albums in full for free download.