Our Daily Bread 506: David J ‘What The Patrons Heard’

April 3, 2022

ALBUM REVIEW/Graham Domain

David J ‘What the Patrons Heard’
(GIVE/TAKE)

The new album by David J (one-time bassist with Bauhaus and Love and Rockets) is a collection of 10 songs recorded over the past 34 years and now released for the first time on CD, Vinyl and download. It is a mixture of original and cover version songs that cover a variety of musical styles from folk, country to punk, goth, blues, and poetry.

The first song ‘Lay Over And Lay’ sounds like the Clash or the Pogues. It has the brashness of an alternative song from the early 1980’s with its punky folk-country charge along!

The second song ‘(I Don’t Want to Destroy) Our Beautiful Thing’ sounds uncannily like Mark Lanegan in both voice and musical accompaniment: sounding not unlike the songs on Whisky for The Holy Ghost. Never the less it is an accomplished song and performance and is perhaps the best song on the album.

The next song is a rendition of Neil Youngs ‘Vampire Blues’ with funeral organ and drums underpinning intermittent heavy guitar chords and resonance. The vocals sound worn and tired like an old blues-singing preacher.

John Lennon’s ‘Gimme Some Truth’ follows sounding like a cross between Barry Adamson and The Eels. It is an interesting twisting version that adds to the original.

‘His Majesty The Executioner’ is an original song that begins like an ambient David Sylvian piece of music with acoustic guitar and looped piano before being overtaken by a storied narration, part horror, part mystery. Unfortunately, the voice is not engaging enough and the words too repetitive to sustain repeat listens.

Track 6 is ‘The Shadow’, a kind of gothic folk song, part murder ballad. It sounds like a folk song from the late 60’s or early 70’s and is reminiscent of such folk singers as Fred Neil or Nick Garrie. Perhaps it will be covered by other artists in the future.

‘The Rape of The Rose Garden’ follows and is a melancholy tale using a Rose Garden in decline as a metaphor for the decline of the American dream after the death of JFK. Musically it is a folk-country piano ballad and is successful in its telling and construction.

In ‘Scott Walker 1996’, an acoustic guitar figure repeats creating an air of mystery, suspense and drama as David J recites a poem about Scott Walker living in Holland Park, 1996, the album Tilt had been released and had put him back in the spotlight once again, but he still craved his anonymity, invisibility, wearing his baseball cap as disguise, ‘dark blue glasses for eyes’…

‘Down In the Tenderloin’ is another original song that David J sings in a higher register sounding a bit like David Bowie with the acoustic guitar somehow reminiscent of Blue Oyster Cults ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’.

‘A Girl in Port’ – is a cover version of a song written by Will Sheff for his band Okkervil River. David J here sounds like a cross between John Bramwell (I Am Kloot) and Richard Ashcroft (The Verve). A nice countryfied version of the song.

Overall, a good album. However, given the time period over which the songs were recorded, it does lack cohesion. Nevertheless it has some good songs, ‘(I Don’t Want to Destroy) Our Beautiful Thing’, ‘A Girl in Port’ and ‘Lay Over And Lay’ being the stand-out tracks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: