published: 25 /
Excellent new solo album from former Brilliant Corners and Experimental Pop Band front man Davey Woodward
When you have been an admirer of someone’s music for decades it’s sometimes hard to be objective and the tendency is just to come across gushing with praise because of who it is and not what they have made.
In the case of Davey Woodward it’s very difficult not to be anything but complimentary because he consistently writes to a very high standard and this, his latest project, is no exception.
It’s not the instant jangle pop of the Brilliant Corners or the skewed eclectic pop of the Experimental Pop Band from his past. Nor is it the new wave genius of his other current band, Karen, yet the songs still have the same melodic blueprint that he has honed over many years of playing and digesting music as well as his eye for detail in the engaging lyrics that are the stunning glue that hold them together.
The album demands to be heard in one uninterrupted sitting as half remembered childhood memories of a missing girl in ‘Caroline’, which also has a musical nod to the Robert Forster-penned Go-Betweens track ‘Caroline and I’, opens proceedings and has quite rightly been picked up by 6Music as an ideal taster. ‘Build a Boat’ is an earworm of a song with its jaunty ‘square dance’ rhythm hiding a much darker subject matter as Woodward recounts the racial abuse he suffered due to his mother being Burmese and the beating he suffered in a subway in 1973. It’s the kind of song that the now defunct Young Rebel Set would have sold their souls to the devil to have penned.
The excellent ‘Girl in the Hoops’, that Woodward first performed live back in 2009, finally sees the light of day as a recorded song. Thankfully, it hasn’t remained in the vault alongside so many other great songs he has recorded but never released.
‘Tangerine Dream’ offers a powerful social comment about how there are not enough activists policing a failing Britain, and even the new age parents are just more concerned with offshore bank accounts and Tangerine Dream.
Throughout his musical career Woodward has documented how relationships just muddle by without any real substance and ‘Black Lipstick’ certainly mines the same seam as ‘This Girl’ (The Brilliant Corners) or ‘Shut Your Mouth’ (The Experimental Pop Band).
‘Home’ highlights the worrying trend that girls are growing up too soon and want to be women before their time, whilst certain women are clinging to their youth for far too long. Again its sobering lyrics are wrapped around a jaunty tune.
One of the standout tracks is ‘Tantalise’ that marries a darkly humorous lyric (similar to Morrissey back when he wrote meaningful songs and was still relevant) with a lovely Spanish-sounding guitar rhythm floating along in the background.
‘Horrors Cope’ is a quite graphic and moving account of the death of a friend with many poignant lyrics such as ‘Sat in the bar near the bus station when I was told/In an instant I was prematurely old’. The music is suitably sombre.
Another of the key tracks on the album is ‘Troubles of My Times’, which has Woodward’s voice pitched at its world weary/broken best as it perfectly works through of song of despair and self-loathing. With hints of John Bramwell and Richard Hawley it is utterly ace.
‘Dylan’s Poster’ closes the album on an upbeat note, with a heavy nod toward the late 60’s/early 70’s US West Coast pop. It is a great track that provides a mention of one of Woodward’s musical heroes to boot.
Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans will be headlining at Gullivers in Manchester on Friday 20th July.
Build a Boat
Girl in the Hoops
Troubles of My Times
Have a Listen:-
893 Posted By: Adrian Cornes, Sevenoaks on 08 Jun 2019
I missed the initial release of this album but went to see Davey performing with the Winter Orphans and loved this new material. It’s only 2 days since seeing him perform these songs and buying the album but my initial thoughts are that his songs work brilliantly in the context of the new band. Girl in the hoops and Tantalise are currently the stand out tracks for me.