Review – “S/T” – Adderall

adderall s-treviewed by Michael Thomas

Adderall is a stimulant often used to treat ADHD, and the drug can help increase wakefulness and response times. To name your musical act after this drug might suggest some kind of hyperkinetic song structures, but that’s not at all what this musician from St. Catharines, Ontario is about.

The rather mysterious figure finds a home in the sadness of ambient music. The EP was recorded live off the floor and there seems to be little used other than a guitar and some effects, giving the vocals the kind of shimmery haze that so fits deeply sad music. Over just three songs, the self-titled EP suggests gloom but an attempt to rise above it and find fulfilling love.

The guitar in opener “Embrace” has been running through my head for a day at least. It feels like the kind of blend of hopeful and sad this EP is going for. The lyrics talk of days fading into nothingness before a couple of short, but urgent-sounding lines: “Can we be okay/Happy, in love/Divine state.” By the end, he says “Your love is an ocean” and it’s unclear how good or bad the ocean is in this case.

“Candy” slows things down, with strummed guitar seemingly echoing infinitely as he adds more and more chords at a leisurely pace. It’s a song of pining for something closeby: “Heavenly hammock/Suburban sun shade/A home to hang my bed.” He draws out the length of each word, suggesting a real emotional ache.

The EP’s other song takes the slower, thoughtful tone of this EP and applies it to a cover of Mumblr’s “Sober.” The original has an intensely manic energy to it as it gets to a chorus, but Adderall never raises his voice. The line about meeting “the unfriendly end of a shotgun” becomes almost more terrifying when it’s sung in a soothing, measured voice.

It’s a small sample of course, and this kind of Adderall may be more of a depressant, but it’s the kind of sadness that can fill a room.

Top Track: “Embrace”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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