From Brooklyn LP
When you get a record from a solo artist you just don’t know what’s going to be lurking inside the jewel case. When said musician has previously done the big band thing, the saxophone thing, and all sorts of in-between things – as David Aaron had – the mystery surrounding what’s on the disc is even greater.
However, after a brief hesitation and expecting just about anything, what David has produced on this occasion is fat-sounding guitar-based power pop. This isn’t to say he’s forgotten anything about his big band, be-bop, or ensembles, which are all brought in to play at various points in the record.
‘The Mourning’ kicks off with a phased drum intro and the words ‘I blew up the world’, before settling in to a funky-tinted pop track with distorted bass and relatively clean guitars. As we move into ‘Mr Sam’, we find a smattering of that orchestral treatment with a string section making an appearance about half-way through. There are also some big guitar sounds, especially in the chorus. The effect is ultimately another power pop tune, but with a more intense richness to the instruments than you’d typically find floating around in the charts.
‘Everyday’ is a more sinister track, with a piano taking the lead and a more Spartan instrumental treatment. Some sombre lyrics also add to the black clouds that loom on the horizon for this song, which perhaps demonstrates a deeper, darker side to the song writing. ‘Wild Garden’ represents something of a continuation of the sombre mood, albeit with a slightly more pop-friendly style, with a bit of a bounce to the verse and more made of the chorus.
The Kinks verses Four Non Blondes acoustic sound of ‘SWOJ’ is accompanied by a suitably Dillon-esque harmonica as well as a whistling section the Scorpions would have been proud of. This is really the one track on the album that drops such definitive references, so it’s fitting that so many are jammed in.
A world of instruments are explored in ‘Advancement’, with inspirational percussion and floating pipe sounds that seem to reinforce the environmental lyrics. Following this, The acoustic material in the later half of the Smashing Pumpkins ‘Adore’ album is present in ‘Baby Blias’, which plucks it’s way instrumentally towards the bluesy penultimate track ‘The Jesus Orphan’.
An ambient sparkling guitar sound opens ‘Waiting’ in the style of U2’s ‘Where the Streets have no Name’. Distorted piano accompanies the vocal in a track that mingles hitting-the-road folk with bluesy acoustic to form an unusual but moving emotional number that captures the heavy-hearted feeling of an ending rather neatly.
This is an impressive enough record before you consider the fact that almost all the instrumentation is provided by the man himself (with the odd exception for some additional vocals, spoken word, keyboards and a short-wave radio).
Although some tracks, such as ‘Leave Today’, are a little run of the mill, it’s songs like ‘The Mourning’ and ‘Mr Sam’ that provide the best indication of what David is really capable of, with a uniqueness that demands recognition.
Written by Smith on