Review : Adelphi ‘Poets and the Thieves’

It feels like there’s a weird, creeping nostalgia for mid-2000s Guitar Music in the air. ‘Proper Guitar Music’, the kind that’s constantly in need of saving, by proper ‘Guitar Bands’. Perhaps most notably, The Sherlocks have taken up the mantle, xeroxing Arctic Monkeys’ polo-shirted, Telecaster-toting bluster, mixing it with the Courteeners’ Etihad-sized self-importance, and spitting out the results like an experimental AI tasked with ‘Doing Guitar Music’.

So, here we have Adelphi. They are also ‘Doing Guitar Music’. This is their latest single, ‘Poets and the Thieves’ and it’s… Alright.

The production is slick, the guitars iced with richly harmonic reverb, and there’s a palpable swagger and bounding sense of momentum to the rhythm. The lyrics unpack the well-trodden experience of breaking away from a night out with a potential flame, impressively working in references to both cavalries and matadors that Milburn would’ve probably rationed into two separate singles in 2006. Matt Longden’s slow-paced delivery leaves you plenty of time to play guess-the-next-rhyme, if you get bored.

Which you might, because for all ‘Poets…’ is identifiable as a song, it also isn’t. It’s two-minutes-odd where something definitely happens for a bit, and then it stops happening. It’s music to fill in the gaps between the applause. Coors Light entertainment.

Clearly, not everything has to be some ultra-high concept ‘Death Grips’ shit. There’ll always be a place for the ol’ Guitar Music – songs as empty vessels, a few barre chords and some easily-memorable words to facilitate a jolly good time being had by all. And, several beers in, you know I’d be belting ‘I’ll take you doooowwn’ with the rest of the cavalry. But today I’ve had three cups of coffee and no beers, the romance is gone; the cavalry are just men in hats, riding horses.

Truthfully, ‘Poets…’ was in my head for its short duration, and then it wasn’t. Although, because the song decided to play on loop on my laptop, I was actually partway through my second listen before I realised it had restarted. That probably sums everything up in a fairly profound way, compounded by the eyebrow-raising (in hindsight) closing line – ‘we ain’t ever gonna leave’…

Maybe I’m overthinking it.

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