John Amadon to release THE BURSTING SHEAF // R.I.Y.L.: Midlake, The Pernice Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Spoon, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and Wilco
Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Amadon wastes no time with The Bursting Sheaf, an eleven-song collection of gloriously rich, layered pop-rock, which he will release nationally on March 5, 2013.
On the follow-up to 2011’s Seven Stars, which made a handful of journalists’ year-end best of lists, Amadon plays the majority of the instruments on the album, and once again brings in some friends for guest appearances, including Scott McPherson (Elliott Smith, Neil Finn) and Mike Coykendall (M. Ward, She & Him)
Influenced heavily by the likes of The Beatles, The Kinks, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, and Neil Young, John Amadon pulls no punches about his musical appreciations, while using them as a mere map to get to the destination he seeks, the outcome which is The Bursting Sheaf.
“The Elliott Smith comparison seems to be inevitable whenever you play an acoustic guitar and double your vocals,” comments Amadon. “People often pick up on the Beatles and Big Star influence, so I expect to get that.”
Entering the studio only a month after finishing Seven Stars, Amadon, who rarely plays out and creates music purely for the love of it, began working on The Bursting Sheaf because he said he didn’t feel done with Seven Stars.
“In a lot of ways it’s a continuation from my last record,” he says. “I didn’t feel done, so I just kept on working. There really was only a pause of about a month between the recording of the two records so they both came out of the same creative stream.”
The big difference is immediately obvious to those that are familiar with both records. Whereas Seven Stars fixated on a love obsession that Amadon had with a co-worker, The Bursting Sheaf is a conscious effort to omit love as a topic as much as possible, preferring instead to offer up sketches of random thoughts and purely fictitious stories.
“It was recorded at the same studio and with the same players, so the sound and vibe of the two records are very similar,” adds Amadon.
Fans of bands like Midlake, The Pernice Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Spoon, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and even Wilco, will recognize Amadon’s ambitions here, which he succeeds on throughout the eleven songs found on The Bursting Sheaf.
Opening with the instrumental “Saltwater Crocodile,” Amadon quickly gets a danceable rock groove going, reeling you into the tender “Walking The Shoulder,” a song that showcases his ability to offer rich vocal harmonies on top of a bed of layered instrumentation, while still delivering an inviting, spaceous pop song.
Meanwhile, “Sisters of the Blue Horizon’ delivers 70s pop-rock worthy of its predecessors, “Two Hunters” grooves as much as it subdues, and “Cupcake” throws in a curveball, while feeling organic and at home,
“It’s straight pastiche, which is something I haven’t done before,” Amadon comments with a smile. “Programmed beats and beds of synthesizers are not characteristic of my sound, but it was great fun doing it.”
“Taking My Field Away” and album closer “Dream Your Dream Alone” are two more prime examples of Amadon’s ability to write a strong pop-rock song, rich in flavor and density, but leaving enough room for the song to breath and thrive.
If there is one song on the album that merits the previously mentioned Smith comparisons, it is the sparse, acoustic-guitar and vocal driven “Oaths,” which showcases both the album’s tight production, even when stripped down to an acoustic guitar and vocals coupled with ambient sounds, and Amadon’s penchant for heartfelt lyrics and earnest melodies.
An extension of Seven Stars, but a completely different album in its own right, he still prefers the record to speak for itself, which The Burning Sheaf undoubtedly does. Pop fans take note, you may have found a new favorite record for 2013.
“Seven Stars is a beautiful release, filled with the mystery and intrigue that was built around strong songwriting and passionate affiliation to powerful vocals that tugs at the heartstrings.” -Zaptown
“Seven Stars displays the talent of a great artist that has so far remained off the larger music label radar, and could truly develop a unique pop sound that blends his ability to write and create music.” – Static Multimedia
“This is a finely produced album whose sound would stop you in your tracks at a hi-fi shop; the lyrics will subsequently transfix you with their haunted imagination.” Hyperbolium.com
“[Amadon is] an experienced musician making an album at exactly his own pace and, far from inadvertently, producing a cohesive and highly personalised sequence of songs which posess a resonance and finely crafted lyrical adroitness.” – Delusions of Adequacy
“Amadon’s elegant three-minute purist pop craftsmanship is a match for his casual, unaffected vocals and terse, sometimes chilling, sometimes nebulous lyrics. Count this among the most intriguing rock records of the past several months.” – New York Music Daily
“Every song here is of the highest quality. If you’re looking for an album with catchy songwriting and intelligent arrangements, this is a masterpiece that we think any pop fan would enjoy.” – Kool Kat Music
“John Amadon may make records for himself, but he is definitely worth listening to, especially if you like rich, well-crafted pop-rock-folk songs.” – Los Angeles Examiner