Review Summary: Unique english singer songwriter emerges more mature and creative from the ashes of his former indie band.
Hailing from Eastbourne, East Sussex, singer-songwriter David Ford is one of England’s better kept secrets. He achieved a modest fame as the front man of a relatively little known indie rock band called Easyworld in the early naughties, releasing two full length records and a mini album in their time, along with quality singles and b-sides to boot. Their energetic post-punk take on power-pop complete with wailing falsetto vocals and musings on the darker and grittier side of life and love on This Is Where I Stand
captivated many an angsty teenager who may have stumbled upon their music. I was recommended their music by a friend, and the love of easyworld spread across in the alternative music lovers in my school and college like wildfire. Their three power chord brand of indie pop was a winning formula for those that craved the musical equivalent of a sugar rush, but their soaring adolescent days of commenting on silicon porn stars, junkies, whores, demons, drinking bleach and sexual desire (all with a hint of hopeless romanticism) were to come to an end. TiWiS
gave way to a darker, more somber and more mature (as well as more hit or miss) sophomore effort Kill The Last Romantic
, where it turned out that David (or Dav, as he was known at the time!) was more than capable of branching out with his songwriting with melodic piano lines, synth and effect laden acoustics coming to the table as well as a more mature lyrical style that he would develop further in his solo career. The album had a single well in the top 40 in the beautifully written piano centered 'Til the Day
, and their other output skirted this demographic, but David was still dissatisfied with his dynamic within the band.
Sadly, easyworld never achieved the success or critical acclaim they were searching for. David left easyworld for bigger things at the end of 2004 and even refused to play any songs from his previous band for a long time, opting to focus on his solo material instead. This is where David Ford the solo artist enters the scene. Recorded in his cellar home studio and at friends houses where he was staying at the time, and intended to be a collection of demos to take to a record label, a year later I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I've Caused
was released as a full length album.
The album opens with subtle acoustic guitar strumming in single I Don't Care What You Call Me
which showcases David's range as a singer, going from a soft almost spoken tone lamenting on a failed relationship with subtle female backing vocals mirroring his own, until the three minute mark where he cuts loose; "Rain it on down, what else can you throw at me?"
Ford yells with an emotionally charged cry "Don't you think this isn't killing me? This is no more than I deserve."
, and you believe him. Call him honest, call him over the top, he probably rests somewhere between the two, but you believe what he's singing about.
For the album as a whole, expect the usual singer songwriter repertoire; acoustic guitars, piano, with a variety of other instruments in the mix, along with impassioned vocal performances. But hang on, we've seen it all before, heartbroken guy sings about love in a soothing manner. Next! Well, as another reviewer once eloquently put; "One foot in David Gray's camp and one in Kurt Cobain's and in between is a life lived" and this couldn't be further from the truth, except that this life lived in between is rather unique. David's special talents can be showcased excellently in the video for the second track on the album, but unfortunately the album cut doesn't do the song justice. State of the Union (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv4QBRS-U50) is a glorious cathartic rant on friendship, love, politics, religion, and the decline of society. The song starts with simple guitar finger picking and builds into a crushing intense chaotic climax with dozens of instruments all layering over each other with a loop pedal, with discordant piano chords thrown in for good measure.
Some moments fail to deliver, I still can't quite manage to get through Don't Tell Me
without hitting the skip button, and If You Only Knew
lacks Ford's usual delivery for a more hopeful and tame easy listening sound. Jazzy piano crooner What would you have me do?
sits awkwardly on the disk but is a beautiful song by all accounts.
Other standouts include relatively upbeat Katie
, and self depreciatingly Morrissey influenced sing-along Cheer up (you miserable ***)
. The former shows Ford rambling in a paranoid fashion about not trusting his partner, but ensuring the listener that he's a reasonable guy and that he's really, really, really not like that at all
. Cheer up
has been a crowd favourite since this record was released, and seeing him last year at the Union Chapel in London encore this song with the whole crowd chanting the backing vocals while Ford wailed over the top was a truly special musical moment.
In conclusion, this is a solid album from an honest and innovative artist. The high rating is to draw attention to David Ford as an artist, and while the album may not be consistently excellent, as a performer he certainly is. I haven’t been moved by anyone’s voice and passion for music as much since Jeff Buckley or Thom Yorke. Perhaps a truer musical comparison, beyond the ones mentioned would really be like a more mature and less upbeat Frank Turner. I would certainly recommend his second album; Songs for the Road
, and checking out his live music on YouTube and MySpace to see how much he has progressed as a songwriter, and to find the surprising amount of gems this man has produced since his immature beginnings, and how much of a crime it is that he is barely recognised in the media or pop culture when he should be selling out much bigger venues as an artist in his creative prime.
Attention: Secret Track!
This album has a secret track that I discovered last year, after having owed the album for a couple of years and it's not at all like the usual twenty minutes of silence on the last track only to have some lame filler or joke song, oh no! The track is called This Is Not Desire
and it's beautiful. To access the track you will need to buy the album and put it in a CD player (gosh!), and then rewind to before the first track, it will allow you to rewind to minus five minutes, and you will be able to listen to the track when you hit play, but I couldn't figure out how to rip the song to my PC despite knowing where it's hidden.