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_There's Never Been a Crowd Like This_



well, it's sorta east coast content, by virtue of an east coast label's
involvement...

i've finally had a chance to spend some time listening to my new Richard
Davies cd, co-released by flydaddy and murderecords. subpop is somewhere
in the equation, i think, but i'm not sure how. richard is an australian
guy who figured out how to play guitar once he was in university. maybe
the cooler kids out there know him from the moles and cardinal, but i don't.
this record is only 30 minutes long, but it seems longer, and i mean that
in a good way; sort of as in i would get lost in a song and before i
realized it the whole album was done. i don't know much about his previous
work, but according to kevin at flydaddy, richard is a bit of a chameleon
and the sound he is associated with at one time will not be the same for
another.

i'm not sure it's a record for everyone, because there are people who
who prefer to stay within the sometimes limiting confines of basic pop
music - they might find his approach a bit too unorthodox to appreciate,
it goes beyond those boundaries on a few occasions.

the entire record could be considered diverse in a sense. richard uses
two or three styles of singing throughout, and the songs with horns have a
different flavor than those without, the songs composed on piano come
across differently than those composed on guitar, that sort of thing.
woo hoo, try to keep up with the technical talk, kids. :) most of the
songs are sparse, the emphasis placed on voice and whatever instrument the
song was composed on, piano or guitar, and then bits of harmonica,
trumpet, bass, drums, those instruments are added in to the mix
but almost as some sort of an after thought. the production (i believe
it's self produced) is sweet, baby. the songs are for the most part slow
in tempo and sort of moody and atmospheric, with occasional bursts of
quirkiness. i think the fact that he's currently touring with the flaming
lips is a good thing. :)

being australian means there's a bit of a different type of delivery in
his vocals; he doesn't try to take on a north american accent. because of
that, a lot of his songs remind me of david bowie. i asked him about that
and he admits he enjoys bowie's work from the early 70s and perhaps the
combination of his voice and the occasionally unorthodox chord
progressions make comparisons inevitable. some of his songs remind me of
"dear prudence" and other _white album_ and _sgt. pepper..._ tracks.
there's definitely a very late 60's/early 70's feel to the songs. i
heard a lot of stuff that reminded me of the rheostatics, strangely
enough. the overall moodiness reminds me of some radiohead songs such as
"lucky", too.

it's not really a rock record, in case this isn't clear. :)

it sort of reminds me of the first time i listened to _brave last days_ -
it was so different from the rock and pop music i was listening to, it
took a while to get into, but once i did, i couldn't get enough. i'm still
not sure how murder got involved with this release (although i've heard
jay is responsible for the connection) but more power to them for helping
to release a solid recording. it's a really nice change of pace and a
pleasing album.

maybe someone who is more familiar with richard's previous work might want
to add comments on his apparent change in style on this record. anyway,
this was a bit more verbose than i wanted it to be, but really, the record
deserves attention, it's a gooder. :) :)


tara

--
I "have" a trumpet
which is almost always lent out to some rock star