In the peripheral Italian music scene, the number of acts that have recently achieved international recognition can be counted on one hand. At Adele Nigro’s age, and at only her second album, to have an already scheduled a reasonably sized European tour is something really out of the ordinary.
After her debut, Silently. Quietly. Going Away, she could loosely be placed in the 90s revival movement (Courtney Barnett, Hop Along, Camp Cope, Ratboys), and that album remains a quite memorable collection of guitar, melodic hooks in the vein of Built To Spill.
Two, Geography represents quite a drastic evolution and expansion of her songwriting and style, coinciding mainly with going from electric to acoustic for most of the record. Similar, 90s-tinged songwriting records of late will spring to mind (‘Breastbone’ is in Julien Baker’s field), but Adele’s retains a clear personality, skirting about the classics (the defenceless intimacy of Blue, or even, at times, the manic boldness of Pearl) with a definite idea of sound (very ‘dry’ band arrangement, developing around Adele’s voice and guitar).
In comparison to her quite straightforward debut, the songwriting relies less on melody, but there is a stronger connection through lyrics and, even in a sparser setting, with the instrumentation. She plays saxophone in a homely way that reminds of the trumpet of American Football (‘Walkthrough’, ‘Traveling Hard’). It all conspires to an effortless but compelling emotional charge, conveyed in the songs in bits and pieces, in a sort of ramshackle suite (‘A Grade’).
In the end, the album results as deeper and more layered than her previous effort, conveying the idea of a well-balanced maturity leap.
Words: Lorenzo Righetto