If Mr. David Viner's self-titled debut album is anything to go by, then the cross-pollination of Detroit and London's garage rock scenes is yielding some fun and occasionally exciting results. It's true that Viner's music is closer to New Orleans-inspired blues than the blues-garage fusion of the leading lights of these scenes, but along with the undeniable talent that Viner brings to the album, the sense of camaraderie that went into making it is audible on every track. A veritable supergroup of garage rock talent backs up Viner, including all three of the Soledad Brothers, the Kills' Hotel, the Von Bondies' Jason Stollsteimer and Carrie Smith, and Pearlene's Jesse Ebaugh, not to mention productions by Stollsteimer and Jim Diamond and Toerag Studios' Liam Watson. Of course, this impressive roster wouldn't mean anything if the album seemed compromised by it, but fortunately, Mr. David Viner isn't a case of too many cooks. Instead, there's a real sense of "the more, the merrier"; the album is steeped in a rollicking, easygoing sense of fun, even on the tracks where Viner sings about wanting to kill the boyfriend of the woman he loves ("Another Man"). The friendly musical interplay peaks on jams like "Monkey Rag" and the playful "Sally Jay," where Oliver Henry's organ playing punctuates the song with an extra musical wink. The Watson-produced "Beer Belly" may be the catchiest and bluesiest track of the album, a rousing ode to carousing that finds Viner wailing with an emotional authenticity that never sounds affected. Ultimately, despite his strong supporting cast, Viner is the star of his album. With a voice and songwriting talent that sound startlingly mature for a 21-year-old, he shines particularly brightly on the album's bookends. "Nobody's Fault" begins Mr. David Viner with a folk-blues-inspired song that lets some sorrow and anger peek through the album's generally cheery veneer; "Trouble in Mind" closes it with a languid, country-tinged feel. In between, the appropriately intricate instrumentals "Ode to John Fahey" and "Cee-Saw" show off Viner's considerable skills on the guitar. While the blues-rock of "Birdsnest" is more conventional and less interesting than the rest of the album, on the whole Mr. David Viner is both a promising debut and an album that's just plain enjoyable to listen to.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares