It might have only been two years since anyone first heard anything from him, but a single listen to this record would leave you surprised at that. I mean that not only in regard to the standard of work produced, but the lineup that features on the album; vocalist Robin Clark (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce) and guitarist Carlos Alomar (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney) and his daughter, Lea-Lórien Alomar are among those making an appearance. This work – his third – documents the trials and tribulations of David’s thirties, severely embracing the “no holds barred” approach to heavy matters, yet all glossed over in powerful soul.
Time for some brutal honesty: on the first listen, this album almost ended up all blending into one, as so frequently happens with slightly more generic music of the genre. The keyword there was “almost”, and even in this soulful blur moments could be picked out and circled as exceptional. Not a failure though, Questions is better described as a grower, with subsequent listens revealing layers the unsuspecting ear would glaze over, and only bettering itself on its moments of brilliance.
Like a soulful American Authors, the album kicks off, nay, gently opens, with the emphasis on setting the scene of the musical backdrop and before Bronson’s lethargic storytelling spreads through the sound as dye colours water. Opening Songbirds remained a restrained sound, never quite reaching a powerful crescendo and often feeling like corners had been cut in regard to lyricism. Like Luke Bryan in a vacuum, Move Like Water brags a country edge but once again it never quite takes hold.
Day By Day is the first to hold real power, female vocals doing what the album needs to boost it up and a not-too-overdone electric guitar riddling through the acoustic sound to add a classic rock edge. Sixth track Song Of Life is the real gem of the album, echoing and distorted, the track meanders along before vocals, only just soft enough to suit, blend into the work. Whilst once again this piece is lethargic, there is a certain deliberation to it, creating something powerful and understated as a highlight to the album.
Guitars that would be welcome in a highly acoustic Frank Turner track lead into Connect The Dots, a warbling and trembling song that goes slightly off the rails from the genre towards its close, but remains as strong to form another personal favourite.
Full of intricate moments and intonations you won’t catch on the first listen, this album is a powerful one, but certainly one that a little time. And though it may seem suitable, this record is far more than background music; an album that deserves your full attention, it will calm you down as much as it pulls you in.