Oh Messy Life - The Literature EP (Cover Artwork)

Oh Messy Life

The Literature EP (2006)


I remember being introduced to Staying at Home a number of years ago, a Sydney three-piece with a wonderful energy that immediately conjured up the warm feelings I had first listening to the Hey Mercedes EP. But frontman Adam Lees was obviously never quite letting on just what he was capable of, and now I hear he has a solo record? I'm ever so intrigued…

Initially I was expecting an Owen clone with an added unhealthy dose of Dashboard Confessional, but was somewhat surprised. The record begins as expected, but then not half a minute in, a sudden rush of electric guitar overwhelms the acoustic on "Gathering Into a Leap." "Centipedes" is most certainly the standout, and an unmentioned rendition of Braid's "Sound Like Violence" is perfectly capped off at the end with a distinct Adam Lees sound.

That's the difference between an interesting solo record and another that stays on the shelf, never to be spun again -- a distinctive sound. It's Oh Messy Life's strong, bittersweet vocal matched with powerful yet subtle songwriting that does it. Sure, there are elements of Owen, Hey Mercedes and perhaps even the entire Redder Records catalog, but I wouldn't compare this to any of the aforementioned. Perhaps the best way to describe this record is simply this: an uplifting, soft, emo-pop record that makes me wonder why Adam doesn't have a Chris Carrabba following. Because he's certainly not a bad-looking boy either!