Monday 18 March 2013

David Ford - Charge - album review

David Ford 

Charge CD / Vinyl (with CD) / Download 

Released March 18th 2013 


Charge is David Ford’s fourth solo studio album.  Since leaving Easyworld in 2004, he’s remained defiantly under the mainstream radar, causing a stir with his debut single State Of The Union and its homemade video of a solo performance of the song in his home basement and having his potential breakthrough second album Songs For The Road lost commercially as label Independiente struggled to pay the bills.

Accepting his lot, he went back to self-funding, self-promoting for this third album Let The Hard Times Roll and a series of EPs over the past couple of years, continuing to play live and astound his dedicated fan base.

The album reflects those struggles he’s faced as an artist, documenting a disastrous solo tour of the southern US on Pour A Little Poison, describing himself as a “whiny little English boy singing the blues” and “staring at the walls of the Motel 6” over a mouth organ led stomp that you can’t help but tap your feet too. There’s also Philadelphia Boy about the way a crowd in Philadelphia took him to their hearts when he almost broke down on stage during another tour and his subsequent love for the city.

Most potent is however album closer Every Time, six minutes of musing over missed opportunities, getting shafted by the business and waking up to the realization he’s making music that he loves and that’s what’s important to him.  It’s Ford’s career summed up in one massive explosion of self-exploration.  One criticism occasionally and unfairly thrown at David is that he doesn’t transfer the power and passion of his live shows to record - there can be no such accusations here.

Unlike Ford’s previous albums, there are huge variations in pace and mood as the album progresses.  The Ballad Of Miss Lily is a balls-out stomp about a man falling in love with one of those girls who just want a guy for his money and Let It Burn has a storming funk beat right through the middle of it with guitar licks dropping in and out in the chorus.    And sandwiched between the two is Isn’t It Strange, one of those tender tear-jerking ballads that Ford produces with impressive regularity.

Moving On is another of those, talking of “a mind to let all fortune’s chips fall where they may”. What’s Not To Love is a simple love song played out on piano with the simple chorus refrain “if you asked me why do I love her, then tell me what’s not to love”. 

It’s followed by the highlight of the album Perfect Soul, another love song but from the angle of a man pleading his case to a woman - “if you’re craving romance, then I’ll show up bearing flowers” but with the proviso “don’t go pinning all your hopes on me, I can make you a pretty promise, but that’s no guarantee”.  It’s got some beautiful brass scattered over the chorus and some unusual key changes, but it all fits together perfectly.

Charge may just be Ford’s best album to date.  It doesn’t fit as seamlessly together as the previous ones, but whilst that might be seen as an issue, it’s actually its strength.  Ford has never been an artist to play by the traditional rules and with this album he’s not bound by any pressure to sell tens of thousands of copies so it’s free of any outside constraints or expectations.

Charge is out now.

David’s website can be found here.  He is also on Twitter and Facebook.   There is a free download of album closer, Every Time, available from this link. Charge is released on March 18th on vinyl, cd and download and is available from David’s official shop.

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