My regular readers will remember that last year I was enthusing about Dave Hanson‘s four-track EP Blind Faith. (See my review #74). Well it turns out that the EP was merely a taster of what was to come. The end result is in fact Dave’s new album Almost Horizontal – and a fine collection it is too. He sent me a pre-release copy for review…
It apparently got its title when someone told Dave that he was ‘…so laid back he was almost horizontal’! It is an eleven-track collection – seven of which I’d not heard before, so I’ll concentrate on those. For info on the other four songs, see my earlier review #74). It is an eclectic bunch of well-written songs – all penned by Dave himself – showing a wide variety of influences – Blues; Rock; Indie; Americana; Reggae; Funk; Latin; you name it! There is something for almost everyone in fact; and its generally palatable for radio air-play without being too ‘Poppy’ either.
Of all the new tracks (every one of which are very good indeed I must say), it was ‘Devil’ and ‘Crystal Ball’ that raised my eyebrows highest – hitting me squarely on the Peter Green button! Dave seems to have really tuned in to an early Greeny groove on these two songs; and for me, they are the easily the best on the album. The song construction; guitar playing; and vocals are all PG-esque in essence; yet its important to note that they still show a lot of originality too. Dave himself told me that ‘Devil’ is his personal favourite on the disc: ‘I was going for a cinematic vibe…’ he told me ‘…I asked Becka [Becka Ward, vocals] to sing like a Mermaid!’
There are other vibes on this disc too. As well as Greeny, I’m hearing a little Clapton; Santana; Kravitz; and Lennon to name but a few. Whether this is deliberate, coincidental, or sub-conscious, I don’t know; but the outcome is an interesting variety of great songs that sound familiar; yet fresh at the same time; because Dave’s personal style clearly comes through on all the songs. Song-writing; vocals; and guitar playing are all praise-worthy for their inventiveness; as are the quality lyrics throughout the whole collection.
Dave is a multi-instrumentalist, handling various guitars, bass, percussion and keys (I particularly love the guitar solo on ‘Do You Get The Fear?’ and his deft use of the Wah-Wah pedal when used). He has also called upon the services of quite a few other fine musicians for this project – an extensive list of whom are mentioned in the sleeve notes. I particularly like the female backing vocals; and splashes of tasty sax. Also, part of the poem ‘Summer Images’ by John Clare is narrated on ‘Midday Sun’ which is interesting and unexpected; and shows Dave’s general artistic depth.
The album was impressively recorded at Groove Lab Studios, Leeds. The CD comes in a card gate-fold cover (the type with a plastic glued-in CD holder on one side). Apart from muso credits, it contains thanks, dedications etc; but no lyrics. Dave also sent me a fact sheet and and a personal note advising me that the disc ‘…serves best when the sun is out and its turned up LOUD!’ Well as I write, the sun is out and… well, you can guess the rest! Almost Horizontal will be released on 3rd June; and Dave will be on the road promoting it from the end of May. See his website for details. If like me you like a bit of variety all within one album, then its probably an album for you. One of the best new albums I’ve heard so far this year. Recommended. PTMQ
Link to Dave’s website