Everything you’re about to read for Adjy’s The Idyll Opus (I-VI) is coming from a selfish plea: 1) a need for more people to devour this album in order for others to be brought into the joy and misery of this opus, and 2) a desire to be stirred for the remainder of an album to be released at the next summer solstice. Is this pleading in vain? Perhaps, and yet, I will try anyway.
As the days of June 2021 were turning into July, a concept album was introduced to the world that changed everything I thought to be possible for music. From one listen, I was taken on a literary lyrical journey that I wasn’t prepared for from a band I had never heard of up until that point. After catching attention for their EP, Adjy reemerges five years from the quagmire to bestow the first half of their debut album to the world. The Idyll Opus (I-VI) is an album like no other: lyrics treated like prose in a play, different indentations for a chorus and characters to follow along this musical epic.
They specifically released this half of the album to correlate with the summer solstice. When you listen to the album and read the text on their website, you see why this was imperative. Every lyric of this story is centered around this summer tale of two people meeting and how their lives were forever altered. Adjy’s The Idyll Opus (I-VI) is over an hour and a half long, but it’s bold, ambitious, and well worth every minute.
We’ve heard the stories of boy meets girl before; they stick with us because they are so relatable and strike the chord of a love we long for. Adjy’s The Idyll Opus (I-VI) follows in this grand tradition: a boy named June meets a girl named July during one fateful summer and from there, a Greek tragedy unfolds. The album starts in media res; really, the first track is called “In Medias Res (Between Longing and Mystery).” This is where we meet the mysterious Alchemist, who ushers the listener into this story he has unearthed for unknown reasons. We get hints along the way, suggesting the Alchemist is directly related to June and July’s story. After the Alchemist, June gets his introduction: wild, free, yet secretly seeking a partner in life. And “On a Road Trip That Summer’s Day,” his entire world shifts; he meets the girl he’s been waiting for, July. Backdropped by corn fields and cicadas, these young souls spend their summer dancing among trees, conversing the deep philosophical questions of life, and falling more in love with each other. It’s everything a summer love should be; that is, until July reveals a secret of a childhood illness in “Secretus Libre.” From there, it’s like a countdown clock begins and continues to count down until the final moments of this half of the album.
The greatest strengths of this concept album is its use of setup and payoff through leitmotifs. Lyrics and musical motifs introduced during “A Boy Called June Pt. I-II” return like a gut punch in the later half of the album, when July’s sickness returns and she’s holding on to her first summer memories with June, among nights with cicadas. A maple tree seed she finds during “O Tonight” becomes a promise to June in “Eve Beneath the Maple Tree” that she’ll get better in order to plant this seed together. As I mentioned, this is unlike any album I’ve ever listened to.
Another strength of Adjy’s The Idyll Opus (I-VI) is the rich imagery and deep literary references woven deep into the narrative of June and July. Their story has the two travel through Appalachia, from Georgia to Illinois, with details of summer constellations and specific plants found along the way, like Queen Anne’s lace. As mentioned earlier, the lyrics are given the Greek tragedy treatment, laid out with intercutting character dialogue and choral exposition. Within that, there are references that are every lit major’s dream come to life. For instance, “In the Space Between Pages” alludes to the tales of Gilgamesh, Romulus, and Cain. With every listen, you uncover a new reference or line that enriches each lyric’s meaning, sinking yourself deeper into the story that you don’t want to leave; this album is the gift that keeps on giving.
And now we wait… for the rest of the opus to be complete. When this will come, no one knows. Based on The Idyll Opus’ official text, we do know that there is a VII-XII yet to be filled out. We sit in expectans senatus, anticipating the denouement of this tale: to find the resolution to July’s story, the mission of the Alchemist, and the rest of June’s words to be wholly writ. So let me end this post back where I started: a selfish plea for you to experience this album for yourself. Allow the music and words to wash over you like a wave and enter June and July’s story, the beauty and the tragedy of it all.
Listen to Adjy’s The Idyll Opus (I-VI) here and let us know what you think.