17 August 2007

Richard Davies - 1996 - There's Never Been A Crowd Like This

Quality: 3 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3 out of 5

After finally ditching the Moles brand, Richard Davies made a quick detour with Eric Matthews for the good but somewhat-overrated Cardinal before commensing on his proper solo career. Cardinal apparently dissolved because of Davies dark musical undercurrents, but strangely enough this solo album opts for the light anyway.

Davies abandoned his experimental songwriting of the last Moles album and coasted into a more folk rock, singer-songwriter vein for There's Never Been A Crowd Like This. This isn't to say that Davies doesn't continue with some quirky arrangements, and his lyrics remain very abstract, but the psychedelic elements here are notably less. The baisc instrumentation here is relatively conventional sounding (although very well-produced) drums, bass, acousitc guitar, and piano, although Davies' sense of singing and harmony remains pretty spacey.

This is actually a bit of a problem as the album soungs a little too uniform for my tastes. There's just not enough variation. As it is the best tracks here feature Davies' odder vocals as on "Sign Up Maybe For Being" and "Jubilee." It often seems that Davies is encroaching on Robyn Hitchcock territory, which I feel was a mistake as it takes away from Davies' strengths. Still, he is quite a craftsman and there's nothing here which isn't well put together, even if it's not as inspired as some of his other efforts. The best we get here are some acceptable indie-pop tracks like the opening "Transcontinental."

This is another short album, not quite reaching the 30 minute mark. But unlike the even-shorter Instinct, Davies' doesn't really think outside the box. Aside from a few strange dischord and atonal guitar parts, Davies' doesn't really do anything particularly experimental until the sped up ragtime of "Showtime," although it's nowhere near as innovative as his previous works. We'll just catagorize tihs disc as pleasant but somewhat forgettable.

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Richard Davies - 1996 - There's Never Been A Crowd Like This

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