A year ago, the enigmatic and eclectic troupe known as Adjy dropped an album with hardly any press or fanfare. The band signed to Triple Crown for but went mostly silent during a period of years, apart from dropping a few singles here and there.
And then there came The Idyll Opus (I-VI), an album that reads as much like a film, Greek epic, or novella as it does an actual work of music. Its release was pretty quiet. But eventually, word got around. People drew comparisons to The Dear Hunter and Forgive Durden. Lyrics started showing up publicly, then the website updated, and most recently, a store with an accompanying BOOK has surfaced. At last, there is finally something we can hold in our hand long after summer’s breath expires.
Genius. Twitter. Discord. Review sites. Phone calls. Emails. Communication has been at the heart of Adjy’s modus operandi since the start (“Grammatology” is a primer on this very subject), but it’s unsure if the band knew exactly how much people would be talking about the record even a year later. It’s a record so unique not simply in itself but in how it pulls people together in a way no other album I’ve seen has done. Some bands have cult followings, sure, but those tend to be around gimmicks and aesthetics. But The Idyll Opus has enough power in its substance and intent.
The specific lyrical lean of the album seems to cull a very precise proportion of listeners. It’s an album that can simply be enjoyed for its rhythmic complexity, orchestral arrangements, and grand melodies, surely. But the intersection of philosophy, theology, literature, personal narrative, and non-linear plot structure is not necessarily something that has mass appeal. It’s in some ways like the ad a man made for his roommate who swallowed swords but was afraid to talk to girls. There are all kinds of assumptions built into the album and the fanbase as such shares perhaps more commonalities, or at least commonalities with stronger force, than some other communities. I’ve made friends from this album simply because we were trying to piece things together – but the initial connections around the album have become bigger and more stable.
And the commentary and discussions around the album aren’t stopping any point soon. The fact that it’s effortless to make a thousands-of-words review or a review video and not even tackle any of the individual lyrical references or repeating motifs at play says something about how layered the album is in nearly every way. Even the structure of the lyrics, as well as the contents of the book (annotations and marginalia) are laid out in such a specific way – a way that provides clarity in some respects but also asks even more questions in other ways.
Something about this community is magnetic. Whether it’s messages through Genius, emails through Bandcamp, sharing links to the book from a store in Ohio to strangers, or any number of means that would typically cross some comfort threshold with strangers, fans have connected. They’ve wanted to learn more about the story, but they’ve come to find a bigger story around it all – one where our lives all intersect and we, like the characters themselves, are presented with a story that consumes them because it might perhaps reconcile our own tensions.
I’ve personally had calls with people from different walks of life because the album connected us. In some ways, we’re a part of the meta-narrative. This isn’t an ARG, or at least it hasn’t ever been explicitly stated as such, but the lines are truly blurred between fact and fiction. The commentary on the album is at times socio-political, but it’s crafted so poetically and with such balance. Art imitates life, life imitates art.
In the midst of all of this, the band have largely remained distant, like social scientists observing the organic consequences of their experiment. The Idyll Opus proves that art can exist to some degree untethered to its creator. The bonds have been largely between fan and fan – not fan and band. It’s the mystery that is cause for communal celebration. There’s a ritualistic quality regarding the genesis of the record, and it’d only make sense that there is some sort of liturgical approach to approaching these songs with others. It’s interactive, such that even without live shows, many claimed The Idyll Opus as their top album of 2021.
Now, with the book finally out, there’s even more for fans to uncover. Adjy is back on tour as well and is one of our featured acts at Audiofeed. Conversations are happening, the dust is clearing, and things are in motion. It’s not too late to get in on the album that continues to captivate fans near and far. And if you’ve been following the band for a while, there are new opportunities to engage.