For a long while,two different stints, The Adjustments lived together in the hilly neighborhoods of Northeast L.A. In the second joint they occupied, high on a hill overlooking downtown, the boys built a practice studio. It was small, it stank, it leaked in the rain and cooked in the heat but it was somewhat soundproof, and more importantly, it was a place to play music. Soundproof is a relative term; I heard everything from outside the studio on the living room couch. And one night, as the sunset off the deck and the freeway traffic idled in the ill, red grin of brake lights and exhaust, I heard what was arguably The Adjustments major evolutionary leap thus far. The guys were hammering out an early version of Cautious. Over and over, the same goddamn lyrics and melody, the same trumpet, the same shit..Try it like this, like that, more this, more that, too much, too little?? In addition to the ruckus coming from the studio, the air was filled with the grind of helicopters, the intermittent barking of neighborhood dogs, and the huge white hum of the surrounding city. Out of this cacophony, something clicked in the studio. Moments earlier, Cautious was only a sketch, a moderately elaborate idea; now it was a squad of voices and attitudes and sounds twisted into one obvious and important emotion. I heard instruments in deep conversation. I heard symphony. One night's band practice had turned into a musical draft of late night chatter between close friends in which words, revelations and histories are so perfectly communicated that not only do they deserve to be recorded, they need to be. Since that session, The Adjustments have been chasing, often successfully, this incredible sense of symphony so absent from contemporary, popular music. Now, a few years later, 5 studio releases, many tours, and even more squabbles later, the band has truly harnessed this sense of cohesion. With gifted producer R. Walt Vincent playing sixth man to this melodious team, they have put together an EP that shows, in twenty minutes, what these boys can do. Their sound reminisces on classic rock songwriting updated with the punk experience. The torrent life of touring as an independent band has given the music a truly modern feel and sense of urgency. Their unique line up includes a piano and horn section. It is this combination that pushes their music into a broader vision and execution of pop rock than what's already out there. The result is a sound with appeal across age and style, inviting the young and not so young to come along for the ride. Adjustment tunes begin in a familiar place; they always have. A lot can be said about the band's ability to cohere rhythm and tone, their ability to play their instruments; but none of it would work without the overwhelming sense of relevance and wry wit that feeds their music. Their humor is as much necessity as recreation. The experiences of paradox, uncertainty, and blind faith - the essential human conditions - all find telling roles in their music. Their songs mix unabashed confusion and lyrical complexity with informed musicianship - bringing the listener from a place of grounded clarity with obvious reference points into a state of frenzy and back again. That said, The Adjustments are rarely dissonant. There is always a sense of place and unanimity.
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