David Kitt

The Black and Red Notebook

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Dublin-based singer/songwriter David Kitt naturally has that kind of warm and clever vibe that other artists try so desperately develop. He's effortlessly tuneful, self-deprecating without sacrificing his self-confidence, and genuinely -- without a lick of irony -- happy. On his first three records, Kitt created a perfect world of rustic pop -- mostly home-recorded -- and as a reward for all of his hard work he made The Black and Red Notebook. It's about as laid-back a cover album as one could imagine, with Kitt's easy, Sunday afternoon vocals riding atop each arrangement all Jonathan Richman-like. Kitt wanted to "get under the surface of other people's songs and to live and breathe them as if I'd written them myself," and he's definitely pulled it off. The thing is, he's made them all sound the same. Any dynamics that survived the translation on Toots & the Maytals' "Pressure Drop" or R.E.M.'s "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" have been filtered through Kitt's dreamy pop prism, resulting in a myriad of colors that would rather go along for the ride than commit to a destination. Still, The Black and Red Notebook is a wonderful drug, and whether he's languidly fingerpicking a Thin Lizzy song ("Dancing in the Moonlight") or drifting through a Lennon/McCartney classic ("And Your Bird Can Sing"), he's in the driver's seat and serious about taking the back roads home.

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