All ash and no fire. A new Ryan Adams is no longer news considering the former Whiskeytown auteur's solo career has primed the pump relentlessly, leaving no song idea that washes up unrecorded. This latest entry, his 12th in 12 years, is more cohesive than the filler collections of years past: fragile ballads ("Come Home," "Save Me"), slow burners ("Dirty Rain") and a song called "Rocks" that, laced with strings, wisely doesn't, are examples of the rainy day mood draped from start to finish. The haunting "Chains of Love" stands above the rest of this set, which doesn't stray from the same droopy tempos and lyrical blahs.
Eying age 40, Adams seems to be acknowledging his adulthood with adult contemporary tedium. But despite the obvious care for craftsmanship, no standouts emerge. Instead, this is strictly mood music that takes the edge off. And how.
DOWNLOAD: "Chains of Love," "Dirty Rain" MARK GUARINO