Rattlesnake Motions

Andrew Adkins

Independent release, 2022

http://andrewadkins.net

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/19/2022

Andrew Adkins is a bit of a paradox to me.

On one side, he is a multi-instrumentalist, handling nearly all of the chores on his latest album Rattlesnake Motions. He also doesn’t necessarily follow any traditional musical roads, choosing instead to carve his own unique path to create his own style of independent music.

Yet there is that one side to Adkins that makes me think of Gavin DeGraw when I listen to him. Vocally, he does share some similarities (though he is hardly a DeGraw clone), and one could be forgiven if songs like “Satellite Mind” and “Broken Fangs” seemed to share more than a passing commonality. Still, it makes for an entertaining listen.

Maybe it’s the slight overuse of vocal processing on the first few tracks of the album. When Adkins allows his natural vocals to come to the surface, as on songs like “Beautiful And Free” and “Into Dust,” his true power can be heard.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Not to say that his musicianship is lacking. With only marginal help on backing vocals and horns, Adkins does more than just perform all the instrumentation; he’s able to make these performances unique in and of themselves. A marginal musician can provide basic instrumental tracks, which fail to rise above mediocrity; Adkins successfully creates the illusion of a full band backing him, which is no easy feat.

In terms of genre, Adkins likewise bends the rules on Rattlesnake Motions. If you’re listening to “Whites Creek Rose,” you’d assume you had put on an alt-country album; if you’re listening to “Death Rattles,” you’d think Adkins was an alternative rocker. Adkins is able to maneuver through multiple genres seamlessly, keeping the listener on their toes—and, unlike others who have dared to tread this path, doesn’t weaken any of the supporting tracks by suddenly changing direction.

If Rattlesnake Motions has any weakness, it’s that Adkins saves the strongest material for the second half of the disc. In a sense, it’s almost like Adkins grew more comfortable as the disc progressed, so that by the closing track “Random Cloud Patterns,” the listener is left expecting and wanting more. But by doing this, Adkins inadvertently takes away from any power the first half of the disc has—and, as it’s not necessarily the easiest album to comprehend, could be detrimental in the long run. It wasn’t until I had listened to the album three times that I was finally able to fully appreciate what Adkins had set out to accomplish.

Rattlesnake Motions is the kind of disc you might find your fingers glancing past when searching through the CD bins… but to do so would be doing the album a disservice. It does require the listener to put some thought behind the listening process, but in the end, it proves that Adkins’s latest release was worth the effort.

Rating: B

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