Steve Gilmore’s Opinion of Transformations

David Deal – I Don’t Know What

First Popspace artist up for review this month is a new name to me. No idea what he does or where he is from but I guess that doesn’t matter too much eh? We all speak the language of music. There are are elements of classicism in both his writing and his music which kind of led me to expect something…er….new age. Just goes to show that one should never let ones assumptions into the driving seat because you are liable to crash and burn as I did with this excellent track. The only vaguely new-ageist thing about is the lyrics which are based on a poem written in the 16th Century.

See, I told you this was a brainy one

The music, however, has some finely honed musculature to go with the grey matter and one of the most powerful pairs of lungs you are likely to hear this side of nirvana. I Don’t Know What is in fact a hybrid; partly rock (of several stripes), partly soul (especially the vocals) and partly anything else that fits. Surprisingly enough, once the dust had settled after the initial excitement of the first few plays, it started getting better again.

There’s a lot going on in there Jim lad.

There’s some lovely musical moments; the guitars especially overall but in the quasi-Queen sections they burn down the house. Not anything like as fiery as the vocals courtesy of Ms Cynthia Lugo; the kind of voice you are not likely to experience that often. Lending that to an almost prog-rock arrangement should be sinful and probably is, but by God it feels so natural that you don’t even question it. Can’t say I’m over-excited about the mix but I tell you what you can hear everything that’s going on and that’s saying something. As I said it’s a very full track.

Highly Recommended blend of Pop, soul and spiritual.
Steve Gilmore

David Deal – Where Are You Now? – A Rockorian Chant

Don’t be misled by the progressive rock label because this is a track that straddles God knows how many different genres. Where Are You Now? is an almost six minute wander through some of the worlds more spiritual places, much more Eastern/Buddhist in feel than anything else. This is probably one of the reasons I seem to have latched onto this track like gangbusters. Not just because it does explore a lot of my own favored musical niches but because it does it in such a positive and fresh way.

Obviously the tried and tested monk chant is going to be at the heart of any track carrying its name and – to be fair to David – he has done a remarkable job. See, when you get a new sound happening, it’s real easy to then go overboard on it. Not so in this case, this musician uses the device just enough to imprint it into the track and then goes off to several different sections that echo it; lyrically and musically. I’m going to hanging on to my copy for further study and I name this track…

Highly Recommended blend of styles.
Steve Gilmore

Help Me Fly is a ballad, and regular readers will understand my customary shudder. My main problem with ballads isn’t that they are slow (which they generally are; haven’t heard many lullabies at 180bpm) as you would expect but usually because they are let down by what can only be called design flaws. The only ballads that really work for me are the ones that are intense, emotional and with a lyric that says something other than bland sugary confections that just give me a headache.

In my world, the best ballads come about because of life and its trials, not the moaning about it.

I have to say that the production, first of all, on this track is absolutely outstanding. Everything sounds just right and the mix fits the musical style perfectly. Where this track scores above most ballads is that it manages to tell a believable story with warmth and love. Essentially a song about a fathers love for his daughter, Help Me Fly never veers into the cringemaking partly due to the excellent lyrics but also partly because of the voice singing those lyrics. Again, no idea who is singing on this because it certainly isn’t David unless he’s suddenly become Davida. The female vocal is the final touch that makes this track not just work but – dare I say it – fly.

Excellent Ballad. Yes I said that. Highly Recommended.
Posted by Steve Gilmore

Review: David Deal
Posted On 06/25/2009 02:58:06 by SteveGilmore

David Deal – Dark Night Of The Soul

Looking back to see when I first met David Deal (you may know him better as songdoc if you hang around certain forums and websites) I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was some time ago.  My how time flies when you are having fun eh?  The track that introduced  me was I Don’t Know What (December 2007) which established two important facts about this musician that further tracks have only embellished.  One, he is a very serious musician and songwriter and two, he isn’t afraid to experiment a bit with form and structure as he showed in that first track.  Since then it’s always been a pleasure to see one of his tracks coming up for review, at least you can pretty much guarantee the quality.

Although the track is billed as prog-rock at POP, I can’t get myself to agree with that assessment.  First of all, were it true, I would be foaming at the mouth and uttering vile curses as prog-rock is not welcome in my house and second, Dark Night Of The Soul probably owes more to rock itself.  In particular, I was minded on first listening that it sounded like classic Jim Morrison era Doors and that feeling lasted through every play.  An easy reach I know, but listen and I think you’ll understand what I mean.

Strung out on the kind of Riders Of The Storm setting is a song with surprisingly few words but much inner power.  For my money it’s the  sparseness and style of the backing track and the almost spoken vocal that gives it the Doors feel.  David Coonrod and Russ Notestine supplied the bass and guitar respectively on this track and should definitely be mentioned because both play a major part in events.  Definitely a track for classic rock fans everywhere, there are so many echoes of the past in it.  Don’t be thinking though that this is just us old codgers reminiscing about how it was back in the day.  Dark Night Of The Soul is modern enough for anyones tastes and varied enough in structure to keep anyone guessing as to what comes next.

Excellent classic rock song.  Highly Recommended.

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