ADIA VICTORIA – ” Dead Eyes “

Posted: December 16, 2016 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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On her debut LP Beyond the Bloodhounds, this Nashville singer songwriter Adia Victoria makes it pretty immediately as clear as her music which has been described as “creepy,” a notion that barely scratches the surface of what she accomplishes. The album is often unsettling, yes, but that feeling is more a by product of her feelings which Adia explores on her gnarled songs than an end in itself. Even the record’s “prettiest” song, the wavy and fuzzy “Mortimer’s Blues,” revolves around her inescapable loneliness. She approaches love-song territory with “Horrible Weather,” but there, she sings about finding that person whose dark clouds and troubles match yours. Adia Victoria powers her songs with muscular, chugging guitars and plodding percussion. Her riffs crackle, snarl, and sneer with subtle country and blues signifiers, and keys alternately thrum and prick on the songs “ Dead Eyes” and “Howlin’ Shame.”

She has a knack for crafting drifting lyrical lines that inch under your skin and stay there. Sometimes, they sneak up on you, as in the spoken section that concludes “Invisible Hands.” The track begins with Victoria speculating what her fears look like, but when she arrives at “The choir sings Hallelujah from the ovens,” the song becomes outright chilling.

Beyond the Bloodhounds isn’t a blues record per se, but in the grand tradition of the blues, it creates space to look your demons in the eye and acknowledge their foul existence without necessarily doing much about them.

On “Stuck in the South,” Victoria reckons with feeling trapped on her home turf. She sings that she’s “dreamin’ of swingin’ from that old palmetto tree,” and notes that her skin color “give ‘em cause to take and take.” She promises to leave, but can’t, her ache is familiar for many native Southerners: The political and social dynamics of the South are complex and often ugly, as it’s been forever, but for some reason, you stay. Victoria recognition of her Southern identity goes beyond cloying “hey y’all” affectations. Instead, she weaves together her disgust, frustration, and uncertainty, building a frank look at how she feels about home. From there, closing the record with “Mexico Blues,” lilting as she sings, “You go your way, and I’ll go mine.” It sounds as though she’s still making up her mind about what her own way is, exactly. But with Beyond the Bloodhounds, she’s made a satisfying plunge into decadent darkness.

Adia Victoria “Dead Eyes”, from her debut album “Beyond The Bloodhounds”

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