Stuart Davis

Something Simple

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The prolific Stuart Davis has some nice slices of pop on Something Simple, and "Deity Freak," with its compelling hook of "party like a pop star," is as infectious as it gets. "The River" is an invitation to jump in, energetic but still holding on to a bit of Al Green's sentiment from his similarly titled tune. "Sugar Bullets" is another great hook; it's just that the setup isn't as intriguing. Perhaps he should bring this back to the drawing board, as the world could use a melody such as this on the airwaves, with nice different stylistic swings inside the production making the music all the more appealing. You can hear lots of Elvis Costello influence, though Davis' personality has no problem making things his own. The bonus CD contains samples from the singer's audio book Love Has No Opposite, and, as spoken word goes, it may be tough for some. The dark humor is just a bit disconcerting for those who enjoy the happier side of his songwriting, and disc one keeps calling the listener back. "White Plumb," the final song among the dozen tunes that make up the first disc, has so much to offer that the second disc feels almost extraneous. "White Plumb" is dreamy and surreal, the drama tucked inside a slower pace than some of the earlier pieces. There are only two tracks in the four-minute range, all the material staying within three minutes or so, exquisite sounds and melody making up "Miracle," a sort of opposite to "Universe Communion," which precedes it. The CD demands a number of spins before it reveals itself and some of the mystery still remains, which is the kind of intangible quality usually indicating that something special is going on. Davis has a variety of different ideas that blend together well, and when they're realized fully, as on "Twisted Mystery" and "Sky God," it makes for some terrific pop.

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