It’s not really a surprise that the Wikipedia entry for Detroit electroclash duo ADULT. manages to reference their popularity in Germany in the first two lines. I don’t mean to stereotype an entire population (not that I’d be the very first or anything), but Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus’ reliance on coldly aggressive vocals, synth patterns, and drum machines seem to fit the common conception. On their first new LP in six years, The Way Things Fall, ADULT. continue to push sharp-edged electronics and driving rhythms that should make those same possibly-Germanic fans very happy, though without growing much from their past formulas.
Though there are some bright moments, the title’s exploration of the fall leaves room for uncertainty and darkness. “Will we, will we live like this forever? / Will we, will we live like this together?” Kuperus intones on standout “Tonight, We Fall”. The repetitions of the song’s title could leave room for interpretation, whether the “we” are falling away or towards each other left in the dark, but the surrounding titles (of which “Nothing Lasts” and “Love Lies” can be counted) suggest a clear answer. The eerier synths of “New Frustration” follow “Tonight, We Fall” immediately, leaving little doubt about the tone, minor keys ping-ponging while a low-end bubble pops at the bottom.
While the tracks on The Way Things Fall are generally a couple of minutes longer than those on 2007’s Why Bother?, the structures aren’t much altered, the iterations of synth lo pop merely drilled in a little further. Penultimate track “We Will Rest” rides on those same synth tones for six and a half minutes, Kuperus dipping into a slightly ghoulish, dramatic delivery. This repetition of tone and pattern becomes much more apparent over six and a half minutes than the other four-and-a-half-minute tracks here, or in three minutes on Why Bother?. ADULT. certainly have a precise understanding of their sound, but can’t seem to inject any new life into the system.
Essential Tracks: “Tonight, We Fall”