Not Long for This World Acoustic, Experimental David J Often overshadowed by Murphy's solo work, David J has quietly been releasing mesmerizing albums on his own since 1983. Emphasizing attention to those details, Doctor Crocodile (as he's been called from time to time) doesn't do anything by half measures, he'll put out something when he's damn ready to and not a moment before. Throughout this catalog of eccentric musical voyages, there are a few constants which have made themselves well known to this reviewer. Introspection, longing and a wry sense of almost diabolical humor would be those familiar phantoms. On his newest record (the ninth, I do believe, make whatever Murphy parallels you like out of that), J indulges himself with a few covers that when you hear them you'll wonder as I have: he didn't write these originally? How odd. And that's something you can always rely on with this gent, the one thing his work continually comes across as is precisely that: odd. Because for every song you think you 'get' there's the nagging suspicion that only he knows why he wrote them. David J is not extroverted in his lyrics, his clever word play and penchant for jotting down the depictions of those lost lonely cads you see in bus terminals and under bridges is second to none. This guy likes to shed light on the common threads which make up humanity's composition. Despite his eclectic personae, I've met him and he's as no nonsense as the songs he pens. Want an explanation of something he released ages ago which has affected you for years on end? Oh, he'll tell you, after a fashion. When people have said to me: "Well gee, I'd like to check out his stuff but it's just so... obscure" I can relate. David J despite his accessibility to his fans on this fantastical catastrophe we call the internet is quite possibly the most cryptic individual you'll come across. I should point out that while this record does not equal the masterpiece which is 'Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh' it is every bit the equal to his engaging 1990 album 'Songs from Another Season'. That's no easy task to achieve because while the world went mad over Love and Rockets in those days, J eloquently pulled aside the curtain of fame to reveal it's price. An album which was huskily intimate, he used it to partially showcase just how insanely out of water he was when confronted by this newly found "stardom". 'Not Long for This World' brings us back to the dimly lit piano bar where J's up on stage with his guitar drifting through the songs he's chosen to cover and those delightfully skewered dark eyed children he's composed himself. Let me state it again, his selections of others work is done more to add cohesion to his own pieces more than anything else. The level of camp (or is just playful cynicism) is high on some of them, be warned but the arrangements he has picked throughout are beautiful in their sparse execution. "Eulogy for Jeff Buckley" is the best example of this kind of approach. It's good to know that J remembers this fellow as fondly as we, the remaining fans do. Although I never got to see him live, my copy of 'Grace' I've had to replace many times. Buckley, too, had a penchant for doing covers which he made his own. Check out his versions of "Lilac Wine" or "Hallelujah", dear readers, if you haven't already. His is a light that never will go out, and Mr. Haskins only makes it shine brighter with his heart rending song which is at times part abstract jazz and at others near discordant free form improvisation. "Spalding Grey Can't Swim" comes up a close second as it details the loss of independence his subject is forced to deal with as time gnaws away his life in ever expanding waves of melancholy radiating from an accident long ago. This biographical aspect to the Doctor's work is unique, nobody else out there looks so closely into the small print of living. For longer than I can remember, David J was often written off as the "thinking man's element" of Love and Rockets and to some degree even Bauhaus; he's never been given the chance to demonstrate his own abilities in the court of public opinion due to the somewhat demanding nature of his records. They don't digest easily nor does he have the penchant to write radio friendly tunes (yeah, I'm looking at you Daniel) which his compatriots are at times afflicted by. This is a man you settle down and listen to for the long haul. I've met very few J fans away from the confines of this screen, which is just criminal but perhaps this will change at long last. Put on your finest wares, top off your glass (label, what label!?) and tap those toes along to a man who is more of a bluesman than I ever expected. No delta required. 550
Brutal Resonance

David J - Not Long for This World

9.0
"Amazing"
Spotify
Released 2011 by Starry Records
Often overshadowed by Murphy's solo work, David J has quietly been releasing mesmerizing albums on his own since 1983. Emphasizing attention to those details, Doctor Crocodile (as he's been called from time to time) doesn't do anything by half measures, he'll put out something when he's damn ready to and not a moment before. Throughout this catalog of eccentric musical voyages, there are a few constants which have made themselves well known to this reviewer. Introspection, longing and a wry sense of almost diabolical humor would be those familiar phantoms. On his newest record (the ninth, I do believe, make whatever Murphy parallels you like out of that), J indulges himself with a few covers that when you hear them you'll wonder as I have: he didn't write these originally? How odd.

And that's something you can always rely on with this gent, the one thing his work continually comes across as is precisely that: odd. Because for every song you think you 'get' there's the nagging suspicion that only he knows why he wrote them. David J is not extroverted in his lyrics, his clever word play and penchant for jotting down the depictions of those lost lonely cads you see in bus terminals and under bridges is second to none. This guy likes to shed light on the common threads which make up humanity's composition. Despite his eclectic personae, I've met him and he's as no nonsense as the songs he pens. Want an explanation of something he released ages ago which has affected you for years on end? Oh, he'll tell you, after a fashion. When people have said to me: "Well gee, I'd like to check out his stuff but it's just so... obscure" I can relate. David J despite his accessibility to his fans on this fantastical catastrophe we call the internet is quite possibly the most cryptic individual you'll come across.

I should point out that while this record does not equal the masterpiece which is 'Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh' it is every bit the equal to his engaging 1990 album 'Songs from Another Season'. That's no easy task to achieve because while the world went mad over Love and Rockets in those days, J eloquently pulled aside the curtain of fame to reveal it's price. An album which was huskily intimate, he used it to partially showcase just how insanely out of water he was when confronted by this newly found "stardom". 'Not Long for This World' brings us back to the dimly lit piano bar where J's up on stage with his guitar drifting through the songs he's chosen to cover and those delightfully skewered dark eyed children he's composed himself. Let me state it again, his selections of others work is done more to add cohesion to his own pieces more than anything else. The level of camp (or is just playful cynicism) is high on some of them, be warned but the arrangements he has picked throughout are beautiful in their sparse execution.

"Eulogy for Jeff Buckley" is the best example of this kind of approach.

It's good to know that J remembers this fellow as fondly as we, the remaining fans do. Although I never got to see him live, my copy of 'Grace' I've had to replace many times. Buckley, too, had a penchant for doing covers which he made his own. Check out his versions of "Lilac Wine" or "Hallelujah", dear readers, if you haven't already. His is a light that never will go out, and Mr. Haskins only makes it shine brighter with his heart rending song which is at times part abstract jazz and at others near discordant free form improvisation. "Spalding Grey Can't Swim" comes up a close second as it details the loss of independence his subject is forced to deal with as time gnaws away his life in ever expanding waves of melancholy radiating from an accident long ago. This biographical aspect to the Doctor's work is unique, nobody else out there looks so closely into the small print of living.

For longer than I can remember, David J was often written off as the "thinking man's element" of Love and Rockets and to some degree even Bauhaus; he's never been given the chance to demonstrate his own abilities in the court of public opinion due to the somewhat demanding nature of his records. They don't digest easily nor does he have the penchant to write radio friendly tunes (yeah, I'm looking at you Daniel) which his compatriots are at times afflicted by. This is a man you settle down and listen to for the long haul. I've met very few J fans away from the confines of this screen, which is just criminal but perhaps this will change at long last. Put on your finest wares, top off your glass (label, what label!?) and tap those toes along to a man who is more of a bluesman than I ever expected. No delta required.
Mar 17 2012

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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