Saturday, 27 October 2018

David Crosby - Here If You Listen, album review

I Hear It

There is something inherently peaceful about the entire feel of this album, a contentment in the excellence of its performance, from Crosby’s pristine vocal to those from The Lighthouse Band who solo with him, accompany him and harmonise with him in the essence of West Coast dream and lush.

Opener Glory completely embraces and crystallises this – Michael League, Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis the backing buttress to the symbiosis of this perfection. Vagrants of Venice follows with a more complex structure and interesting soundings on the guitar work, timings and tangents within the songs typically variable but retaining overall beauty.

1974 is a completion of an old demo, the guitar and vocal semi-scat a familiar echo, then the song enters its other familiar in a jazz inflected melody – we are right back to those early days in the songcraft and performance and, I’ll say again, purity of Crosby’s vocal perhaps prompted by the youth of those around him, a happy osmosis. Your Own Ride is piano led and has a choric surround wherein Crosby slows the pace to his solo resonances as well as clarity. Quite beautiful. Buddha on a Hill is also jazz slanted, and this contains the album’s title in its urging chorus, and if you do you will be moved on its musical wave.

I Am No Artist is a turn back to the complex in its range, a focus on its poetry, and Becca Stevens evoking Joni Mitchell in her emotive vocal – The Lighthouse Band such a prominent influence on this and the album’s musical breadth. 1967 is another turn to a past demo, and more wordless vocal mapping the guitar’s chord sequencing, past and present merged seamlessly as the whole expands to a fulsome choral delivery. Stunning.

There is more, but I will close on closer Woodstock, Mitchell’s iconic encapsulation of hope made hopeful at the time [1970] by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the stardust settled now to golden in years, reflection and mature consideration – as if melody and the beauty of its recreation can still deliver. Even if that journey is well-travelled in memory and nostalgia, this is a peaceful reminder from Crosby and wonderful band, and when looking around where we actually are, escaping for its three minutes and so is a joy.

No comments:

Post a comment