David Newbould – Power Up!
This effort gets off to a grinding guitar start with a Captain Beefheart growl but not with the creative finesse of the Beefheart. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of energy, maybe too many effects, dialogue & extraneous noise at the onset to keep the average attention span tuned in on the classiness of what is actually here.
“Peeler Park,” finds Newbould in more control with his amplified showcase. This is Toronto-born / Nashville-based singer’s 4th LP dips generously in grease, grit & pure basement rock ‘n roll — with garbage cans, paint cans & framed pictures of dead people. The songs are at times “peel back the skin” in nature recorded a tad too hot. I couldn’t always hear the lyrics through the supersonic chords. But Mr. Newbould seems to have an interesting approach. So, I listened. Perhaps the thing that suffers is the production – not the material.
“Blood On My Hands,” has a nice atmospheric tribal beat with a deviant vocal. A powerful song with Nick Cave luster. With driving, steady acoustic guitars that keep it anchored. Newbould admits these songs are basement rock ‘n roll. If that’s the aim — he succeeded. It does possess a primitive groove & vibe but that’s what makes this music raw & authentic.
“The Lawn,” is better sung & the production here captures David’s vocal similar to the late folk-rocker John Stewart (“Gold”). What would’ve helped – a deeply soulful female backup. This track also has the late Native American poet John Trudell’s spirit which adds to its persuasive drama.
Produced by Scott Sax (drums/bass) the 48-minute Power Up! (Drops June 10–Blackbird Records) features David (guitars/vocals) & guest Kristin Weber who provides subtle gypsy violin to the wonderful cover of Crystal Gayle’s “Ready For The Times To Get Better.” The song begs to be done as a duet with Lucinda Williams but vocally, David excels on this.
A complete detour in style comes with “Home Depot Glasses,” which borders on Roger Miller territory. The carnival organ/toy piano tinkle adds to the creepy effect, but David’s faux country accent is humorous. May not be for everyone. The quirky tale ekes out a Tom Waits air freshener scent & I like it.
“Last Letter” is a good rocker, nourished by a Rolling Stones type-guitar protein. Seems the best songs were saved for last. “One Last Dance,” is a solid effort & another fine David Newbould vocal. There’s a bit of Willie Nile in the vocal tonality but Nile is even more urban-oriented lyrically. David Newbould is a bit more diversified. “That Was Another Time,” is exciting.
Is it perfect? No. Not at all. What rock ‘n roll music is? But the potential for a rowdy good time of it – is evident.
Sepia image by Ryan Knaack. CD available @ http://davidnewbould.com/ + Bandcamp