Earlier this year I wrote about an Adam Chandler song called “All I Want Is You”. It’s a brash little folk-pop song that a friend of mine introduced me to after accidentally catching Chandler live in Brooklyn last summer, and it became one of my favorite songs of 2006. It came from his album Vacation, which was released on his own Folding Leg label, and whose songs rarely offered more than just his voice and guitar. This bare-bones approach sometimes hides the fact that Chandler is deceptively skilled at crafting melodies that crawl into your head and breed into lasting snapshots of youth. His best songs possess a brazen, energetic charm that is unmistakable, informed with a lo-fi punk bluster and huge pop hooks. Vacation housed a bunch of other gems just waiting to be picked up by a band and turned into the folk-punk classics they oughtta be.
2007 sees Chandler returning with the semi-new Icon T-Shirt, an album that could very easily get lost among the hundreds of DIY bedroom records that are always circulating, but deserves so much more than that. It’s a collection of 8 homemade acoustic nuggets that are again just brimming with spirit and melody. While the record is by no means a sonic step forward from Vacation (if any singer/songwriter I can think of is in need of a noisy rock band playing behind him, it’s Chandler), the set shows he has refined his songwriting and become even more confidant as a vocalist. On his prior album he too often hid his voice, an impressively raspy rock and roll instrument, behind a layer of distortion. On Icon T-Shirt he sings loud and clear from start to finish. There is also a noticeable improvement in the consistent strength of the songs, as well as an emerging maturity (especially over the record’s latter half) that proves he does reckless and sensitive with equal skill. Remember the name Adam Chandler - he’s got a talent that’s true and it’s just a matter of time…..