Album Review: addy — ‘Eclipse’

Posted: by The Editor

It would be fair to say the ecosystem of lo-fi and folk-influenced rock music is oversaturated. With the amount of competition within these sub-genres, it takes a very special artist to stand out. On their debut album Eclipse, Richmond’s addy is making a very strong impression. While they’re certainly making folk-rock music, they take care to texture everything, with bursts of field recording, and tiny silver flecks of electronic instrumentation. Despite these flourishes of inorganic sound, the album never ceases to feel rooted, secure and tied into the natural world. Bandleader Adam Watkins sings of climbing peach trees and spending time outside soaking up sunlight, and it feels timeless.

One of Watkins’ greatest strengths is their ability to conjure mental imagery that is both beautiful but also very specific. Throughout Eclipse we are treated to songs that place the listener exactly where Watkins wants them to be. The album’s opener, “Garden Snake,” is quiet and meditative. While instrumentally the song is built around sparse acoustic guitar, its true strength comes in the care taken to make it feel like a world. With bird calls and footsteps heard in the background, the listener feels transported, perhaps walking through a pine forest, the sun not yet fully risen. The only other moment on the album that is as stripped down while being as affecting comes much later on. That track, “Pond,” builds a world out of its rustic guitar tone and lyrics depicting a bike ride down to the water’s edge. A few moments of auto-tuned vocals that poke through, reminding the listener that while the music feels naturalistic and classic, it cannot escape modernity. 

Watkins sings each of the album’s nine tracks with a hushed, pleasant lilt that feels familiar and comforting. On the standout single “Easier”, they help tie humanity into the rustic landscape the album builds by contemplating our frailty. “Sometimes I think about the fruit / how it bruises just like your skin.” Watkins is worried on this track, seeing someone they care about in trouble and hoping they are able in any way to help. They seem to carry expressions of futility or self-doubt through the album, bringing it up again later on the title track. “I wonder if I can be that / I wonder if I am.”

Addy closes out the album with “Pattern”, a song that feels both very raw but also muted. At only two minutes, Watkins is able to fill the song with a sense of serenity. This is bolstered greatly by subtle swelling guitars and a careful melody. Having made the record at home with a band made up of trusted collaborators, much about the album feels disciplined. By taking tender care and lots of time, Adam Watkins has crafted a solid and consistent piece of work. It is the kind of album meant to be listened to through, and then played again. Most of all, Eclipse is a record best experienced alone, walking towards a sunset, in a lush field. Should none of that be available to you, then simply close your eyes and it will take you there. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal


Eric Bennett // @seething_coast

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