Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reviews:: David Singer East of the Fault Line

"Some thing you love, some things you hate, but most things are only okay."

As David Singer utters this simple phrase half way through his new record, East of the Fault Line, he sums up the music blogging world pretty well. No one wants to read about something that is just average, and unfortunately most things are just that.

As a result, bloggers form contrary opinions and oversell the value of records that most people don't care about (Deerhunter for example), or attempt to drag down a record that 99% of the world loves (like I do with the new Arcade Fire record). The result is the blogger hyperbole that quickly ensues. Every band is either your band or one you have to defiantly reject. No one wants to read about a record that gets a 5.7 on Pitchfork, but give Travis Morrison a 0.0 or Dirty Projectors an 8.1, and people will click away.

So where does David Singer's effort fall? Probably somewhere in the middle and for me, that's more than okay. Singer captures the blasé affairs of life perfectly and having his observations sung over mind-blowing riffage would take away from what I like about his style. I know that hearing a man sing about every day events, using clever phrases and subtle piano or guitar is not something that will attract the masses, but East of the Fault Line is an enjoyable listen for those willing to give it a chance. The record isn't full of hooks, instead Singer focuses on his narrative and adds very pleasant accompaniment. The opening moments of Amaranthine set the tone for the record, when Singer uses simple piano and drums to echo his matter of fact delivery.

"You won't die from frustration, but it will leave a mark in tender places."

Sure, it may seem obvious, but there is something about how Singer uses his words. Lyrically, he reminds me of John Roderick, or Harvey Danger (no wasted words), but while they use catchy licks, Singer & his band opt for more understated, slow lines. At times he drifts into the piano bar side of things - like the heavier plink work of Little Charles - and freshens up the record with reverb on the ear pleasing Snow, but for the majority of the record, he keeps the melodies pretty constant. Like most artists, he paints pictures, but the pictures are of every day events. He's able to grab the subtle shadows and lighting to make the still life of a bowl of fruit draw your eye.

The highlights of the record are the descriptive (I Don't Want You To) Stay and When You Come Around Marie. His lonely portrayal on the former is great, and you can't help but settle into the scene as he sings about watching a couple interact from across the room. On the latter, instead of tackling the traditional themes, Singer drifts into a more upbeat tempo and introduces a falsetto as he becomes a man who is in love with his friend and stuck listening to her complain about getting dropped by another guy. The interesting part of the character is not that he's in the situation, it's how easily he accepts the role of being her shoulder, despite wanting more.

"If you need me to tell you a joke, buy drinks for tonight cuz your broke, then pass me a smoke I think it's going to rain. We'll sit and we'll drink and I'll listen while you complain."

If you haven't been there once in your life, your either lucky or lying. Hoping that by being you and always being there, she'll realize you were meant to be - that's how everyone thinks. That's why I enjoy this record; most songs let the singer drift into fantasies or nightmares, but Singer simply chooses to portray reality. The reality that most things are simply okay. Not as great, or as bad as anyone (especially artists) makes them seem.
MP3:: Amaranthine
MP3:: East Of The Fault Line

web site :: myspace

Posted at 12:31 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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