Release Date: May 14, 2013
Record label: Ghostly International
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Neo-Electro
After spending years away from music to renovate buildings and make films and visual artwork, Adult.'s Adam Miller and Nicola Kuperus couldn't have picked a better time to return. During the years between 2007's Why Bother? and 2013's The Way Things Fall, the kind of dark, spiky, synth-driven sound they'd been honing since the early 2000s -- back when it was called electroclash -- finally rose to prominence, making them seem less like outliers and more like trailblazers. That distinction seems even more fitting considering that Adult.
ADULT. never quite fit in with the electroclash outfits they were grouped in with during their rise to sorta-fame in the early 2000s. Detroit's Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus had the same mix of dance music sounds and punk aesthetics that their largely New York-based peers did, but none of the downtown glitz and coked-up post-9/11 escapism. Instead they projected something more intense and unsettling, a faceless anxiety that pitched French existentialist horror through a bleak Midwestern Rust Belt worldview.
With a grind of synths and a few involuntary twitches, Detroit’s biggest purveyors of techno paranoia and electro unease are back. After a six year hiatus, husband-and-wife duo ADULT. have returned with their fifth LP; and it’s their most conceptual yet. Less confrontational than most of their earlier releases, The Way Things Fall marks a shift away from the industrial and towards the accessible, harking back to perhaps their most well-known release: 'Hand To Phone’ (famously remixed by Soulwax).
Many outsiders might point to the latest emergence of the dark wave electronic scene, helmed by newcomers like Austra, Cold Cave and Zola Jesus, as the impetus for Adult.'s long-awaited return to music. But you can thank their passion for visual arts for something as laidback and unscripted as The Way Things Fall. The Detroit duo's fifth LP (and first in six years) was conceived after recording a few tracks for an art gallery performance.
The latest album from Detroit duo Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus, otherwise known as ADULT., has been a long time coming. Six years have passed since the release of their fourth album Why Bother?, which was released to a mixed reception in 2007, with Miller and Kuperus taking an extended break following a lengthy world tour. The rest did the pair good and when they returned to the studio last year, things fell into place quickly.
It’s not really a surprise that the Wikipedia entry for Detroit electroclash duo ADULT. manages to reference their popularity in Germany in the first two lines. I don’t mean to stereotype an entire population (not that I’d be the very first or anything), but Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus’ reliance on coldly aggressive vocals, synth patterns, and drum machines seem to fit the common conception.
It’s unfair and skin deep to throw veteran electroclash outfit ADULT. in with the undeniably cliched (but really quite funny) image of the bedroom synthpunk duo knocking out contrived melodies, hollow drums and droll vocals. But it’s hard not to.‘The Way Things Fall’ is the Detroit duo’s fifth album and oozes confidence and experience. Opener ‘Heartbreak’ sets the tone for the rest of the album with striving, purposeful drums, a haunting, plodding synth hook and flat, unnerving vocals.