Ada Jane Never Been Better

It’s been a while (two decades to be precise) since Minneapolis became the first official buzz city of American indie rock. Hüsker Dü, the Replacements and Soul Asylum all hailed from the frigid city. Now, the likes of the Hold Steady (who have since relocated to New York) and Ada Jane appear poised to make the city a beehive of activity once more. Ada Jane is the new name of singer/songwriter Matt Marka’s eponymous project, which released three previous discs. This one finds the band reproducing the kind of boozy, brawly bar band sound that Soul Asylum were most famous for. Their sound is a raw mish-mash of sweeping lounge jazz ("Everybody Else Bailed”), Blue Rodeo/Wilco-inspired alt-country ("This is My Broom” and "Backing Down Again”) and straightforward rockers ("On Your Level” and High to Low”). Marka’s lyrics are a fitting street level complement to the music. The disc’s greatest shortcoming is its production, which sounds tinny and thin but not in a good way. A little more umph on the bottom end and this could have been a real winner. (P.A.W.)