alexthomasdavis – The North
Opening with ‘Northern Monkey’, alexthomasdavis’ The North starts off with the same energy and momentum that is found in his previous 30 releases.
It would not be unfair to say that throughout his songwriting career, alexthomasdavis has been prolific in his output. This opening track continues to establish his Northern roots which are clearly influenced by bands from that part of the country. ‘A Good Day To Die’ carries with in some weighty melancholy, with lyrics considering where the people who were once around are no longer there, and if the future holds anything to look forward to. ‘Happy Being Sad’ continues with the same feel, although on further inspection there are glimmers of hope to be found within the dirge that reveal themselves within the artistry and songwriting, where the poetry of the song’s lyrics allow for the listener to discover more while the song wanders along on its own path. Some interesting chord changes make ‘Backing A Long Shot’ and intriguing listen, with flashes of tone that nod towards the cheekiness of Half Man Half Biscuit, while ‘Made Up’ sees a turn towards a more upbeat side to alexthomasdavis’ songwriting. ‘Dirty Hangover’ tells a visceral picture of someone on a booze bender who keeps returning to the drink, with long strummed chords that ring out and perfectly accompany the image of someone stuck in a cycle of destruction. Some brighter chords appear on ‘Clocking Off’, with hints of the brief joy that is felt in the moment of finishing work having spent the whole day clock watching. Despite the lighter chords and notes that ring through, there is no avoiding the melancholic undertones that run through the music, and at times it begins to feel so heavy it’s hard to know if it’s possible to hold on. But let’s not forget the same vibes that bands like Joy Division and New Order had – very often by tapping into the reality of our situation, no matter if it is happy or sad, we find the greatest source of our output. This is clearly the way that alexthomasdavis chooses to write, by looking within himself and responding accordingly by writing his heart out. ‘Breathe’ once more shows some flashes of hope, with a characteristic oo-oo vocal hook, while ‘Past The Factories’ once more paints a strong image of the post industrial North. The album comes to a close with ‘Trophy Wife’, which sticks to more or less the same formula that alexthomasdavis has established so firmly in his prolific output. As an artist on the lookout for band members, the album serves very well as a way to get to know his material, and the songs show that they lend themselves very well to a full band sound. Hopefully over time these songs will get the chance to be fleshed out more in a live setting with some really exciting arrangements that will let them really shine.