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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Nerd Rock

Portland's Adam Sweeney stays academic in his latest project, The Breaking

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Portland's Adam Sweeney does a bit of everything; just check out this post from late last month referencing Portland soul singer/songwriter Kelsey Mousley: "Gearing up for another session with Kelsey Mousley tomorrow. I love nerding out on new mic and pre configurations. #livetrio #rnb #nerd"

For this guy, being creative involves a lot more than just coming up with a melody and some lyrics. Sweeney has a long list of collaborations—like the one with Mousley—under his belt including work with popular Rose City rock band Incredible Yacht Control and up-and-coming folksters The Cabin Project, as well as a successful solo career and a darling folk group of his own, Adam Sweeney & The Jamboree. His latest venture—the psych-folk band The Breaking—is yet one more outlet for his creative juices and perhaps the most unique to date.

A musical savant of sorts, Sweeney is not only adept with music production, but is sublimely crafty with a folk tune, often times twisting it into rock realms that rustic songs typically aren't meant to visit. With The Breaking, that premise seems even more true as tracks from the band's debut EP—Go Gently for one—sound like the resulting genesis of studying 1960's coffeehouse folk music and 1970's acid rock. And though they ripple with a soft fluidity and rich echoing vocals, The Breaking's tunes exhibit a rigidity that reverberates with the concept of controlled chaos; they're musical experiments with potentially predicted outcomes.

The EP's ballad, "Oh Sarah," is a ghostly track with sad nooks that probe alt-country concepts which when paired with well-placed crescendos, limits the song's weirdness and firms up its appeal. It's a deftly executed idea for a song and one—even in a musical mecca like Portland—that feels brand new.

But of course, Sweeney seems to always be on the move and these fresh songs with The Breaking are likely only a rest stop for his creative drive; after all, even before their EP was done, Sweeney mused as much on Twitter:

"May need to start some sort of solo project again. Tired of not touring and the band is tied to day jobs. What to do?"

Clearly, this guy's brain is never off.

The Breaking

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