There is a lot packed into the nine songs that form Taser Revelations, Adam Stafford’s third solo album following the acclaimed Imaginary Walls Collapse (2013) and Build a Harbour Immediately (2010). Released via Edinburgh label Song, by Toad and recorded at their Leith warehouse The Happiness Hotel, the record sees Stafford create some of his most accessible music yet working with producer and multi-instrumentalist Robbie Lesiuk alongside Greggor Douglas on keys and backing vocalist Anna Miles.
Let a Little Love Inside sets the tone, strong melody and rhythm with stream of conscious lyric and a crisp, clean production. Phantom Billions shimmers with steel drums and laser sound effects, single Atheist Money is built on looped beats and soaring guitar while Black Lung Applications lilts in 6/8 time, an interesting counterpoint to its dark, death filled lyric. Railway Trespassers is a slow burner that starts with a quote warning children about playing on the railways and features scrap yard percussion/ guitars reminiscent of Tom Waits. It also contains the brilliant line ‘They’ve got well hung heroes and their contracts full of zeros’.
The title track plays like an industrial ballad before the slow rhythmic pulse of Bracelet Dream of the Shadow and it’s ominous talk of infanticide. Unknown Swimmers is a brief waltz that fittingly sounds like it was recorded underwater while the fragile Penumbra closes with more images of death and a beautiful, spare arrangement.
In short, Taser Revelations is a tour de force brimming with confidence and invention from an artist at the top of his game. An essential listen.