Advanced Copy: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Jeff Yerger

Ryan Adams has gone a little cuckoo lately, hasn’t he?

In early 2009, he announced that he was quitting his long time band the Cardinals, just after their new album “Cardinology” was released only a few months before.

He cited his disillusionment with the music industry, the media and his own fans as reasons for leaving.

Despite leaving his band behind for the moment, Adams has still been quite the busy man, writing books, releasing metal tracks under his black metal moniker “Werewolph” and marrying actress Mandy Moore.

But, back in 2007, before all the recent madness, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals entered Electric LandLady Studios in New York City for a recording session that was only supposed to last two weeks.

As it turns out, the creative juices were excessively flowing, and the band produced over 60 tracks in a span of six months.

A few of these songs made it onto the album “Easy Tiger,” while the rest were put away in the vault while the band went on tour.

Now, Adams has decided to share many of those shelved songs from the “Easy Tiger” sessions.

The new release, a double-album, is titled “Volume III/IV.”

It’s a pretty straightforward rock record with a few twists in between, but for the most part, these songs don’t sound like they’ve gathered any dust at all.

“I am very proud of the record,” Adam said. “It is an easy listen for a double record.”

The record showcases the Cardinals in its classic line up and at its loosest.

These songs have a range of influences, from KISS to the Cars.

Now, I wouldn’t start comparing this double album to the Beatles’ “White Album,” because it’s not as ambitious as that.

Many of the songs are heavy on the guitars, dueling out of the left and right of the speakers, but blending together nicely.

“Hi, hello, it’s me again don’t worry,” Adams sings on the opener “Breakdown Into the Resolve,” as if to ask the listener, “remember us?”

There is a lot of vintage Adams on here to please longtime fans, despite the new changes in sound on the album.

Songs like “Dear Candy,” “Stop Playing With My Heart” and “My Favorite Song” are fun, power-pop gems that are sure to please the ears with their jangly guitars and bright choruses.

Ryan Adams has made his love for “Star Wars” no secret in the past, donning various nerdy “Star Wars” T-shirts at his shows and now releasing a song about the movie.

“All I want…is someone that loves me the way I love ‘Star Wars,'” Ryan yelps in the refrain.

Well, for every Jedi with the Force comes the threat of the Dark Side, and on this release, Ryan Adams embraces his dark side with a few tracks, like “No,” “Icebreaker” and “Sewers at the Bottom of the Well,” which flirt along the lines of hard rock.

On paper, “Volume III/IV,” may seem a bit schizophrenic, but only Ryan Adams can follow up a hard rock song with a mellow, country track, “Typecast,” which features Norah Jones, and make it work.

The album is a powerful testament to the songwriting talent that Adams has.

However, it’s probably for the best these songs were released long after those sessions, giving them their own time to breathe and holding fans over for the time being until the next Ryan Adams original release.