Adam Brodsky

January 01, 2000

Sophomoric name-dropping. Nasal whining. Restraining order. These are phrases Adam Brodsky probably hears every day. But on his second album, the new Folk Remedy (Permanent Records), the wiseacre anti-folkie reveals that underneath it all (or perhaps because of it all), he wants to be loved. That he wants to be loved, specifically, by bisexual female singer/songwriters is beside the point. (You also get the feeling that, in a pinch, he'd settle for the deaf, dumb and blind daughter of a liquor-store proprietor.)

But to say that Folk Remedy is Brodsky's prayer to the heavens each night before cuddling up with a box of Kleenex would be disingenuous. In fact, the Philly artist fancies himself a one-man wake-up call to sleepy folkies everywhere--especially those content with the low, nostalgic rumble of John Gorka and his ilk.

And provided those folkies still haven't heard Brenda Kahn, Hammell on Trial, Paleface or, by extension, Beck, Folk Remedy might prove a hair-raising experience. With its bashing, talking blues, 10-dollar distortion pedals, epileptic harmonica and Brodsky's wandering rants, the album is unrelenting in its enthusiasm and caustic only when Brodsky almost unwittingly shows a little tenderness. At the end of "Patsy Cline," he lets loose the line: "I play my guitar onstage/ I eke out an adequate living/ I fall to pieces in my car." Elsewhere, Brodsky summons even more influences: Leonard Cohen, John Prine, the Violent Femmes and, of course, Bob Dylan. "Unmitigated Freakshow" is Brodsky's "Gates of Eden," played out on the set of Singles or Reality Bites.

Yeah, it feels dated. And sure, Brodsky's fears that the music he loves has been polluted--and that means anything from Dylan at Newport on. But the kid's got heart, and words to spare. By my count, that's remedy enough.

by Joey Sweeney, Philadelphia Weekly

updated: 17 years ago