Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, III/IV
Adams pulls out a full-tilt rock record from his voluminous stash
Around the release of 2007's Easy Tiger, Ryan Adams complained that it wasn't the record he'd wanted to make. He'd wanted to do something more rock-oriented, something that pushed his adored backing group, the Cardinals, to the fore, something that reflected his recent listening, specifically Black Sabbath and The Grateful Dead.
Cardinals III/IV is, then, Adams's belated revenge. Released on his own label, these two albums were recorded at the same time as the Easy Tiger tracks. They are, as Adams sulkily hinted, full-tilt rock 'n' roll, and as startling for their quality as their quantity — not something always true of Adams, who at various points in his prolific career might have benefited from rigorous editing. The principal reference points are the Replacements, whose boozy punk is especially clearly echoed on "P.S.," "Star Wars" and "Numbers," and the unabashed radio rock of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers — "Stop Playing With My Heart" could have been lifted straight off Damn The Torpedoes. Adams hitherto little-explored metal roots are pulled up on the Sabbath stomp "Icebreaker" and the stack-heeled glam and psychedelic wigout of the Kiss-like "Kill the Lights."