Adriana Spina: Never Coming Home
Always good to welcome a new voice on the Scottish music scene; after several years of playing her music on various stages, Adriana Spina is on the point of releasing this, her debut album of self-penned songs. A singer-songwriter with acoustic guitar in hand, Adriana is supported by a rock band line-up, supplemented on record by some additional keyboards, accordion and even pedal steel on one song.
The album’s title is lifted from a line in one song and fits as a theme for all the songs here. On the threshold of a new life with her husband-to-be, Adriana’s songs deal with the happiness, the physical wonder and the strange new emotional states that come with committing ourselves to another. At the same time, she’s looking back over her shoulder at the life and the family that have made her who she is today, and whether, indeed, she can even be sure who she is today. In our young adult lives we try out various personae that we might like to become and that’s one of the matters scrutinised by Adriana’s writing. She writes mostly about the inner emotional life but there are other themes slipped in; Jeannie’s Song is, I believe, a tribute to her grandmother, another song, Faces, contemplates the mess that mankind seems to make of the world whilst Fallen is a strange tale indeed: the scene is the city streets at night but the song is peopled only by herself and a child who appears on the street before her. As they wander the streets, she thinks she’s taking him in her care (the idea of care, of keeping another safe, crops up a few times), taking him home, but it seems to be she who ends up learning from the child. It seems a nice parable and a sure sign that she wants to write about what’s in her head, not in crowd-pleasing hackneyed phrases.
Adriana’s got a lovely voice with a high purity that she can inject a little grit into when she chooses; on one song in particular she cuts loose a bit and lets her voice soar and swoop in a manner reminiscent of Kate Bush. At other times she sounds uncannily like Andi Neate, another fine Scottish singer-songwriter. Adriana’s songs tend to be quite wordy and sometimes it feels like she hasn’t fully worked out how to fit all the words into the music so that any sense of natural flow or drive can be disrupted. The most successfully worked out song is one of the most rocking, Way Down, and here Adriana puts her voice and words at the service of the driving beat. The drumming is insistent, the guitar is aggressive and focussed and you can easily imagine pounding down the road late at night with this playing loud. Elsewhere, some of the nicest touches seem to come from Colin Train on Hammond organ and accordion with his contributions having a good feel for what the song needs.
This girl’s going to be busy over the summer, bringing these songs to the world, and it feels like this is just the beginning for someone who sounds like a natural songwriter and is probably already playing with ideas for the next album.