Independent, alternative acoustic artist, alexthomasdavis, has written 31 albums, his latest being “The North”. The music is honest and seems to be from the heart. I was very impressed that it was just the singer and his guitar. So many new bands try to over compensate for their lack of experience, good lyrics or musicality, by over producing the music. This was not the case with “The North”, where the music is simple and straight forward.
There are no standout songs that would be your typical radio single, instead you get once of the most solid debut albums with great songs from start to finish. There’s something different about alexthomasdavis music and I think I figured out what it is. Most songs on the radio have pretty simple tunes and I find I usually can start anticipating the tune and humming along the first time I hear it. But with alexthomasdavis’ songs I think the melodies are much more complex so they take a few listens to get used to. But once you do, they are totally enjoyable.
Every album by alexthomasdavis I’ve listened to so far has been the same story. The first time through I feel underwhelmed – like I’m not sure what I just listened to. After about the third time through I really start to catch on and then each subsequent listen just keeps getting better and better. This is partly due to the fact that these recordings are simply made up of acoustic guitar and vocals. The minimal raw recordings, together with alexthomasdavis’s offbeat and at times melancholy-sounding voice, also take some getting used to, for the uninitiated.
So for those of you who think you don’t care much for his music, please give it a few listens before you make up your mind. Especially considering that the strength of his compositions lies in the lyrical content. Probably the reason alexthomasdavis is not as popular as he should be is people don’t take the time necessary to really absorb his music.
“The North” leads the listener into a world where things are bleak and just slightly askew, but strangely captivating and inspiring at the same time. Songs I particularly enjoyed, include “A Good Day To Die”, “Backing A Long Shot”, “Made Up”, “Breathe” and “Trophy Wife”. These songs, you can tell, are so gut wrenchingly personal it is like you were there with him just watching him spill everything he had to the song.
Throughout “The North”, alexthomasdavis shows his ability to craft simple songs with emotional heft and lyrical intellect. Nothing comes out on top, nothing ever collapses, and the music exists in perfect balance within itself. It’s on the edge of something big that’s never coming, because alexthomasdavis sticks to his stripped-down monotone simplicity. Yet it all holds together cohesively. Be that as it may, I think alexthomasdavis has never put out a production-perfect release. But they are perfect in the way they are…. always on the verge of sounding like he is about to slip off-key… but he never does!
There is no musician to compare to alexthomasdavis, not because he is perfectly original but because he has woven himself in the tradition of alternative pop music in such a way that any attempt at comparison would lack dimension. Essentially, if you have sat in a room and listened to music and just been absorbed by it, if you have that patience and capacity to listen to and engage with storytelling, then “The North” is an album that you should own.