Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dave Davis - Fractured Mindz (2007)

Although he took a largely subordinate role to his brother Ray in the Kinks, Dave's fierce guitar work and hoarse but effective background (and occasional lead) vocals were key elements of the band's appeal. Dave also occasionally wrote songs for the Kinks that showed him to be a writer of considerable skill and wit, if not up to the same level as Ray. In the late '60s, Dave made some solo singles that met with critical success in Britain, although they were unknown in the U.S. "Death of a Clown" (also included on the Kinks' Something Else LP) made number three on the British charts in 1967, and the follow-up, "Susannah's Still Alive," also did fairly well. 

Dave began to consider making a solo album, but
...
1.This is the time
2.Free me
3.All about me
4.Cme To The River
6.Remember Who You Are
7.The Waiting Hours
8.Rock Siva
9.The Blessing
10.Factured Mindz
11.God In My Brain
Since he was the legendary wildman of the Kinks -- the man responsible for their proto-heavy metal guitars, the battling brother of Ray -- it's been easy to pigeonhole Dave Davies as just a hard rocker but anybody who paid close attention to his solo work would know that he has a spiritual, even mystical, dimension to his music. It should come as little surprise that Fractured Mindz, his first album since his 2004 stroke, emphasizes this spiritual side; brushes with mortality tend to bring that out in an artist. But even if this is filled with references to his stroke -- whether it's in the very title of the album, the determination of "Remember Who You Are" or the meditative "The Blessing" -- Fractured Mindz doesn't exist entirely within the scope of Davies' mind. He has songs that strike out against the state of the world today, such as "Free Me," which help give this album an air of defiance that's kind of inspiring. Also inspiring is the very fact that Davies -- who initially couldn't play and had trouble singing -- made this album through some considerable difficulty and that it isn't an album that's resting on his laurels. He's attempting to carve out new territory through songs like "The Blessing," and he's updating the Kinks bluesy garage rock effectively with "Come to the River," so there's a lot going on here that's worth exploring. Unfortunately, much of this is married to a rigid drum machine and outdated synthesizers that give Fractured Mindz a curious out-of-phase feel, as if it was resurrected from 1986. This may make the album a little bit hard on the ears at times, but it's hard to blame Davies for relying on such out-of-date synthesized instruments -- they were the homemade tools that helped him construct this album, so even if they give the record a bit of a stiffness, it's easy to admire his doggedness and ambition on this worthy, if flawed, album.
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