Adam Richman Patience and Science

[Or Music; 2005]

Styles: pop, punk, indie rock
Others: Rooney, American Hi-Fi, Phantom Planet, Blink-182

True to the description in his press release, New Yorker Adam Richman is something of a whiz kid, although not in the way you might expect on his second full-length Patience and Science. What's impressive about this 22-year-old is that he dropped out of college to become a rock star -- a familiar fantasy, but one that Richman could potentially realize with his skills as a producer, mixer, and engineer. On P & S, all of the above were completed in his parents' basement in Allentown, PA, and except for the drums sounding fake at times, it's a prodigious feat, successful on the whole. It's a shame then that the album comes across as somewhat predictable and dull, when so much obvious hard work was involved. Literally the first thing audible on the hour-long pop-punk outing are nasally, vocoded vocals which give way to the upbeat chorus "Am I alone in this prison?/ I don't know when to listen/ What can you make you mine?" This succinctly sums up the record's thrust: loneliness. At this point in my life, I feel extremely biased to be reviewing such a collection of poem-songs from yet another bleeding-heart, can't-find-love punk hottie. With years of experience dating these types of guys behind me, I simply can't muster the sympathy -- suspend the disbelief, you could say -- necessary to take the lyrics at face value. For every "Mary Anne," who in her title song shows up wasted at Richman's door, takes his bed, leaves him the floor, and is branded a whore, there's three girls after who could get the back-draft bullshit from a heartbroken boy. Then when he doesn't understand why they won't stick around, he writes "The Loneliness Song," followed shortly by "Baby I've Changed." Both of which are the best songs on the album, expertly crafted and The O.C.-ready.

Due to the aforementioned display of audio wizardry, Patience and Science is one of the best-sounding bedroom rock records to ever tickle my eardrums. But what is it saying? Visually, at least, that Richman is hip. The front cover is a profile of the handsome singer, yellow flecks highlighting his Mohawk and pierced upper ear as if to say "look HERE!" Yawn. As sophisticated lovers of pop and punk know, these accoutrements or the lack thereof don't matter if substance puts the smack down on style. But unless Richman's target audience is girls too young to see through lyrical cliché, he's got to dig deeper for something to complement his greatest, technical skill.

1. What Can Make You Mine?
2. Suck it Up
3. Broken Glass
4. Mary-Anne
5. From the Pain
6. Baby I've Changed
7. The Loneliness Song
8. Song 10
9. Warsaw
10. Here Anymore
11. I'm So Crazy
12. Lost on Timing

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