Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Although most would, perhaps quite rightly, associate Delaney Davidson with dark Waitsean sounds, raw loops and frequently menacing songs at the midpoint of Hank Williams and Nick Cave, there has often been a very strong pop component in his work, catching the chords and structures of classic Fifties and early Sixties sounds.
Although there are country influences right across this new album, there is also as much pop (albeit it bent into unusual shapes and seen through a more jaundiced lens) on Shining Day.
Such a Loser – second up after the country-flavoured Strange I Know – is economic and fuzzed-up Merseybeat power-pop and What Am I Doing Wrong next up (with Neil Finn on bass) is pop-rock along a similar axis.
There is also oppressive and distorted pop here (the thumping Ever Gonna See with power chords, searing vocals through steel wool of the kind Jack White might admire) and So Far Away has almost jaunty quality despite its lyrics which address the attritions of life and the belief/hope that it's gonna be better elsewhere/soon/later.
As always, Davidson delivers a fractured beauty (the slow and accusatory ballad Bottomless Hole right at the end) and there is a vengeful spirit afoot too (Lucky Star is bitter and dark).
For the electronica-meets-Johnny Cash (through a megaphone) he pairs up with SJD which mixes the vinegar with sugar (the elevating backing vocals) and the centre-piece title track is a melodically lean and downbeat ballad with an uplifting backing vocal and a lyric which attests to hope, and the supportive and enduring nature of love. It provides the lovely raw material for a warmer cover to take it to the mainstream attention which it deserves.
At the other end of the spectrum is Ten Ton Forty Foot Carnival Girl, locatings him at the freak circus, but which comes with a funky country pop substructure.
Davidson says the origins of these songs are as diverse in their geographical origins as they are in the time of their conceptions but if that's so – and he has always been a reliable witness – then that doesn't come through on a collection which, as always, offers as much breadth as it does depth.
Once again Delaney Davidson does not fail to deliver.