Adrian Underhill - Indica Records -

Adrian Underhill


Adrian Underhill doesn’t mince his words. His debut album, CU Again, is filled with smouldering electro-soul slow jams and plainspoken vulnerability, making it as inviting as an extended hand and as intimate as a secret whispered in your ear.

The 10 songs on CU Again are the culmination of many years of sonic exploration. Having grown up in Vancouver before moving to Montreal and then Toronto, Underhill served time in indie rock bands and eventually went solo for a low-key EP in 2012. He then completely revamped his songwriting process, using keyboards and drum machines for the first time and gravitating towards a slinky sound, blending pop immediacy with tender R&B experimentation.

“I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not to play too much with production ideas,” Underhill explains. “The tunes have a classic ‘70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best. As a person with a lot of privilege I felt like these songs had to count - they had to really mean something to me.”

When it came time record, he teamed up with one of his dream collaborators, English electronic producer Kindness (Robyn, Solange, Blood Orange). They recorded for 5 weeks during the winter of 2016, working on electronic elements in Montreal before heading to Los Angeles for a three-day session with a live supergroup including D?M-FunK on drums, Keith Eaddy on bass, and Brandon Coleman on keyboards. The recordings were mixed by Blue May (Kano, Jagwar Ma) at his London studio.

The results seamlessly blend the synthetic elements of Kindness’ production with the band’s warm, organic instrumentation. “We just collaged all of those elements,” Underhill reveals. Standout single “Not Good Enough” places the singer’s confessional croon against a purring backdrop of lone woodblock and pillowy keys, while the swaggering disco syncopations of “Cruel” showcase the band at their funkiest.

Synth horns swell on the smooth grooves and soaring glissandos of “How to Make a Life Count,” as Underhill grapples with his place in the world and sings, “Seems like I should have no voice / Born into a place of power / Trying to make sense of what I’m given / And how to make a right choice.”

The sentiments on the album are empathetic, with words that are delivered with refreshing directness and simplicity. This reflects the urgency at the heart of CU Again: after so many years spent playing in bands and whittling away in his bedroom, Adrian Underhill is finally putting his name on an album. He won’t settle for anything less than unabashed lyrical honesty and pristine pop perfection.

By Alex Hudson 

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