Monday, July 31, 2006

***Mr. David***

When I initially heard about this CD and it's artist, there was talk of "the Bob Dylan of Children's Music", the kind of overgeneralized assessment that, say, People Magazine would give any performer who plays acoustic guitar. But the first time, the second time, the third time I listened to this album I couldn't believe what I was hearing: Stream of consciousness songs; rhythmless rhythms; almost impromptu backing vocals; world music, but not from this world; and a vocal delivery that lets you know this artist is not performing for label owners, music reviewers, or distribution managers ... he's performing music from his heart for himself, and if you dig it, cool. And that is precisely what Dylan would have done.

David Alexandrou (aka Mr. David) kicks off The Great Adventures of Mr. David with what seems at first to be a typical kids' song, with lyrics about making a sandwich (albeit with peanut butter from the sky and a blueberry jellyfish), but as he strums along and the lyrics become more Dadaist you begin to get the hint that something special is going on. It seems a recent trip to Mexico, among other events, made a profound impact on Alexandrou's outlook on life, and that shift in perspective has been translated to The Great Adventures. Scenes from a cabana, epic stories of the sea, a wildly enthusiastic original version of "La Cucaracha", Zen observations of the joys of a backyard ... the sound is so laid back, sometimes, that it seems like David's backing band, particularly the horns, are recording their parts while leaning back against a stucco-walled cafe with a frozen drink close at hand. And the rich, organic production gives the recordings an even more intimate feel.

Wonder what kind of kids' song Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass might have come up with? Listen to "Hello". Then "Come To the Plaza" and join the unbridled joy found therein, discuss the philosophical musings of lizards and fish as they contemplate their existence, wonder at a grandson's profound faith in the healing powers of his dinosaur sippy cup, and marvel at the precious treasure that is a home run ball.

And then comes the good stuff. Percussion instruments appear and disappear during the surreal and beautiful "In the Storm, Fighting the Octopus"; and rhythms chase each others' tails throughout the best cosmic beach song Brian Wilson never wrote, "Surf's Up All Around the World". And David's "Mother Goose Medley" combines powerpop and minimalism to create a string of tunes that seems like a child dreaming about memories of songs he's heard that day.

This is a great one to listen to on your iPod while lounging on the beach with your toes in the sand, or relaxing on the living room couch in the middle of the afternoon with your little ones. Another indie rock masterpiece that kids, grownups, college students ... that everyone will fall more in love with every time they listen to it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

warren,
I love your reviews, problem is I want to buy everything. How's about a top ten list fall?

thanks for the site
a dad who just became a dad again

Anonymous said...

warren,
I love your reviews, problem is I want to buy everything. How's about a top ten list this fall?

thanks for the site

a dad who just became a dad again

Warren Truitt said...

funny you should say that...i am in fact planning a top ten album list and a list of my top ten favorite songs of 2006, around the beginning of december. gift season, ya know?

thanks for the comment,

a soon-to-be dad

Anonymous said...

I already have Mr. David's new CD and at first listen my brain wasn't sure what to do with it but I have grown addicted to it and that actually kind of puzzled me. I am feeling something that I didn't know how to put to words but you have done it for me and I feel at peace now. The inperfection of the production is actually what has become so endearing to me. "From the heart" is so right on. I have read several of your other reviews and you have an absolute amazing talent for description of feelings. Your reveiws are entertainment in themselves. Thank you

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