REVIEW: Sufjan Stevens – “The Age Of Adz”

Sufjan Stevens / The Age Of Adz / Asthmatic Kitty Records

There has been no shortage of new Sufjan Stevens releases in the past few years, but The Age of Adz, with its darker visual themes and unique blend of folksy modern sounds, is the first full length album-for-the-sake-of-an-album from Stevens in five years. Rather than setting foot in another Midwestern American state, the geography the release revolves around lies within Stevens’ own head and chest; it’s in these personal spaces the conflicts represented take place, producing some of the musician’s most expansive work to date.

There aren’t too many artists who can claim electronic whirs, thumping industrial beats, orchestral brass and dreamy choral sing-alongs as standard pieces of their everyday repertoire, let alone those that can consistently pack all of those pieces fluidly into one engaging and enjoyable song. Yet that’s exactly what Stevens does on “Too Much” which first introduces listeners to the aural expedition they are about to embark on. The second track comes on the heels of “Futile Devices”, a somber number for piano and plucked strings that is just as much a typical Sufjan recording as the jarring head scratchers that follow. Stevens’ methodical slow pace makes some of his earlier work an acquired taste, but the plethora of sounds flooded at listeners on The Age of Adz keeps songs gripping, or at least continually surprising.

Download: “Too Much”, “All For Myself”

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