Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz (2LP)
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Loosely based on the work of troubled American Creole artist Royal Robertson, who specialized in apocalyptic visions of the future replete with aliens, utopian temples, and end-time prophesying, Age of Adz (pronounced "oddz"), with its glitch-filled, heavily processed barrage of late-'90s electronica, feels cut from the same desolate cloth as Radiohead's Kid A, or Björk's chilly Vespertine, but where Kid A utilized restraint, The Age of Adz trumpets a near-constant cacophony. Opener "Futile Devices" eases the listener into this new world with the familiar sound of a gently fingerpicked electric guitar, and as Stevens' pitch-perfect, heavily delayed vocals reassure his subject that "I do love you," it almost seems like old times. That dreamy setup is revealed as a red herring just seconds into the epic "Too Much," as tree trunk-sized synth bursts and staccato drum machine blips flip the switch on and unleash the The Age of Adz' most accomplished cog. "Too Much," along with the gorgeous "All for Myself" and the propulsive "I Want to Be Well," are stand-outs not just because of their formidable intricacies