Adult Mom

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Momentary Lapse of Happily (2015), 6/10
Soft Spots (2017), 6/10
Driver (2021), 6/10

Adult Mom was originally the solo project of Steph/Stevie Knipe, a reclusive queer from New York state. Her early recordings were diaristic in nature: the three-song EP Bedroom Recordings (2012), with the fragile, ghostly bedroom-folk of Splitting my Ends, the five-song EP Bstmommy (2013), with naive miniature tunes like Paws and To My Friends, the three-song EP Mom's Day (2013), with the minimal Uncle Lou but also the more developed Dee, and the eight-song mini-album I Fell in Love by Accident (2014), with the more elaborate melodies of What's Another Lipstick Mark and Dancer Feet, besides one-minute singalongs like Fiji and Theme Song. Now renamed Stevie Knipe, s/he recorded in a regular rock trio (with guitarist Allegra Eidinger and drummer Olivia Battell) the six-song EP Sometimes Bad Happens (2014), containing the rocking Ode To One Night Stands and new versions of Paws and Theme Song.

Finally they released a full-length album, Momentary Lapse of Happily (2015), if possible even more rudely autobiographical than the previous recordings. The whispered Be Your Own 3am and Wake compete for brutal honesty with the positively poppy Survival ("I survive because I have died") and When You Are Happy. The martial sadness of Sorry I Was Sorry (borderline country) and Laying On My Floor towers over the other songs, with the dramatic ballad Sincerely Yours Truly trying in vain to steal the show. The album also contains a new version of What's Another Lipstick Mark.

Second album Soft Spots (2017) contains only nine songs but they are clearly better arranged, and they span a larger spectrum of styles, from somnolent Burt Bacharach-esque pop balladry (Ephemeralness) to faceless middle-of-the-road rock (J Station) via timid folk-rock (Tenderness). And so the band achieves the upbeat, catchy Full Screen and toys with the half-baked atmospheric power-pop of Steal The Lake From The Water and the quasi dance-pop of Drive Me Home (with multi-tracked vocals and a touch of synth). The lugubrious melodrama Same is probably meant as the album's emotional core.

Driver (Epitaph, 2021) continued the progression towards a mature mainstream pop-rock sound, yielding the pulsating and lyrical Breathing (a testament to a much better vocal delivery) and the robust singalong Frost. At times it sounds like Knipe could be a worthy disciple of Tom Petty, but she is easily lured into the atmospheric languidly country-esque Passenger and the grandiloquent dance-pop of Sober, and she embarrasses herself with the noisy and frenzied Adam, which sounds like the exact opposite of the theorem that she had tried to prove at the beginning. Nonetheless, her narrative skills have improved as has her voice (Berlin) but they are still used to mimic generations of songwriters who came before her rather than coin an original style. It's only the words that set her apart.

In July 2021 Knipe announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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