Sufjan Stevens had his work cut out for him on Wednesday night at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium: He had the daunting task of convincing everyone in the room--himself included--that he's more than just a guy with a banjo and some folk songs.
The direction that his music has taken on his new album, The Age Of Adz, is shockingly different from his previous soft spoken, folk-driven efforts. It finds Stevens sharing hip-hop/electronic-based songs about heartache, recovery, and the apocalypse where happy songs about Midwestern states used to be.
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And while this live performance probably made Steven's new musical direction more feasible to fans who were still on the fence, it also exposed some of its faults.
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But with the help of his expert 11-piece backing band, which included two drummers and a trombone section, those moments were hardly noticeable.
Things got a little indulgent. The new tracks featured polyrhythms, key changes, halfway-choreographed dance moves, all of which hung like ornaments on an over-decorated Christmas tree. Thankfully, those moments came and went quickly, as Stevens was concentrated on singing and playing every note perfectly.