October 2014 issue

Page 28

International Acts

DREW DE FOUR Humanity Pop

The astute way that the piano carefully orchestrates the jazz sensibilities on ‘Be Here With Me’ add distinction in the right way. That is cradled with the prevailing charm also securing the warmth of appeal that it needs. But it contributes in a way that has heart throughout. Then a smart pop sensibility seems to brush through that engages a smart gospel harmony on the backing vocals. The drift that comes off this suffices and then the softness of his voice remedies things and grants it reach. The lyrics accommodate that in an active way while still coaxing the better of the delivery out. There is a real subtle hint of The Jackson’s ‘I’ll Be There’ mixing with a blues number on ‘Neverlove’. A very tender effort indeed and one that steadily comes together as it builds. Faithful in that regard allows it to process the tender side in a confirmed way. Again the softer touch presides over things with ‘Books’. A hint of Motown begins to lead in on the album and the Smokey Robinsonesque calling here works a treat. It has a remarkable paunch to it as it picks up and that lean showing is handsomely tracked to corner the sophistication of the showing smartly. ‘Come On Down To The Sip’ has this cool beatnik quality to it all. There are hints of coffee shop appeal to it, while the bass and other elements command a funky side that gets beneath the play in a conservative way. Again that hip factor is called upon squarely on ‘Mamamosito’. There seems to be a sense of indulgence to it that gives it vitality. The structure here is well considered and that frames it all in a legitimate way that it responds well to in the playing. Following that is ‘Honey’. Railroad callings surge through this and provide the tempo with a fanciful skip. As an all-rounder it is a tune that harnesses its potential, while the pleasance of the select qualities brings a timeless charm that embraces American genres and influences

8 Embracing a change in direction is ‘Can I Bee?’ Noted not just for the beatbox vocals applied, but also for the rock that then comes through. The playing arcs suffice and they are highly engaging. While the detail in the playing comfortably progresses the album in a bereft way before things move to a romanticised showing on ‘I’m So Happy’. The carefree saunter on show is admirable. It holds in a relative way which adds to the appeal. But how well versed it all is happens to be chased down without things feeling any strain or showing it. Again there is a refined touch to things with ‘Without You’, but it is a reflective tune that adds depth. It is a welcome addition to the album and the reposed feel of everything finds its feet from the opening. That is leveraged in a calculated way against what is intended and operates in the arrangement to show this in a devoted manner. The longing carried across on this as a duet serves it well. Coming into the closing stretch on the album is ‘Annie’s Grave’. There is a solemn calling to this one matched by the delivery. Momentum swings in its favour from the reflective attributes and the careful weight of the arrangement commandeers this in a formidable way. Kept on course is ‘Boys At The Sky And The Ground’ and the askew temperament matches the narrative here. It is a bit of a keepsake tune but it gets where it needs to be. It is the style it is delivered in that provides it with front and that is greeted with a savvy calling that is ushered through respectively. The album’s closing track here is ‘For The Best’. A wanton presence gives it reach and this remedies everything with the approach undertaken keeping it all in focus. But it is a tidy number marked out by how neat it all comes together.

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