Review Summary: David James Young is a cock-tease.
Let’s look at Nothing Rhymes With David’s releases in general terms.
Beard Logic Riddles
established his sound
Double Negative, All The Way!
made improvements on that sound, while leaving the door open for experimentation via the final track “Useless Blues (End Of Act One)”.
makes improvements on his sound, while leaving the door open for experimentation via the first track “+2”.
“+2” and “Useless Blues” are some of NRWD’s best work. The former in particular is precisely the direction that Young should take in the future, a Paradesesque slice of indie pop that shows off major improvements to Young’s vocals and incorporates an instrument he’s known for but has thus far neglected – drums. And then, just like that, it ends. 2 minutes of experimentation (3 if you count the beginning and the end, which is made up of various samples) and then NRWD slides right back into his usual style.
I’m not saying his style is bad, I enjoyed his other releases quite a bit, I’m just saying that giving us a taste of a better one and then acting like it never happened is a frustrating move. Young is capable of making a leap across genres; he’s capable of not just moving past his folk beginnings, but expanding on them. So why doesn’t he? I mentioned in my last review that it was a shame the fuzzy rock of “Useless Blues” wasn’t used more, and it’s the same story here, down to the improvements on NRWD’s trademark sound. Young sounds better here than he ever has, and it’s clear that he’s grown as a musician in the time between releases. His melodies are more enjoyable and his lyrics are steadily improving. Admittedly his guitar work hasn’t improved much since Double Negative, but there’s no real call for it to.
If the trend continues, NRWD will become the biggest cock-tease in Australia’s Indie scene, constantly teasing his fans with possibilities but never actually fulfilling them. There’s so much potential there, it would be a terrible shame to see it squandered over the next few years.