Solo project of John Davis, ex drummer from Q and Not U and Georgie James, Title Tracks features Davis writing and recording everything you hear on the album. New Haven's Safety Meeting Records has been working with Title Tracks and Washington D.C.'s label Dischord Records for a while now to bring you their new album "It Was Easy."
The album is simply divine power pop. After years of great albums with Q and Not U, this is almost the start of an entirely new sound, a little less punk and more sunshiny pop. It doesn't mean the edge is gone though. At its core, the songs are powerful three-chord, three-minute pop tunes that you'd be crazy not to love. The songwriting is really strong here, with multi-faceted instrumentation and complex changes cropping up, but Davis shows that he's still the master of a powerful hook. On the single "Every Little Bit Hurts," the instrumentation is sparse but there's a lot of small guitar changes that keep the song changing drastically throughout; but he keeps returning to the same catchy, sing-a-long hook. It has all got this great Elvis Costello vibe.
The songs aren't just simple happy go lucky tunes though, there's a lot of complexity to each song. Each tune is chock full of interesting guitar work and fun vocal tricks that keep you listening. He's also fantastic at throwing in tiny musical references to other genres. Snippets of late-era rocksteady horns and guitar upstrokes are littered all over the song "No, Girl," which is my favorite track of the album. I might be the only guy who appreciates The Abyssinians, but geez that's a great sound. It's a bit melancholy compared to the rest of the tracks, but it's still well within the realm of blissful pop. The last song "She Don't Care About Time," sounds like Britpop, especially the Supergrass-esque layered vocal outro.
All in all, it's a really solid album. It's catchy, fun and upbeat the whole way through, and never really loses momentum. Clearly, he's got some great ideas and is more than capable of weaving the straw into gold. It'll be very interesting where he takes this project in the future.
So far he's released two videos where he is joined by his friends and touring band, with Nick Anderson on guitar, Michael Cotterman on bass and Andrew Black on drums. Check 'em out:
You can pick up the It Was Easy 12" and the Every Little Bit Hurts 7" from Safety Meeting's merch store. Don't let this one pass you by. It's a beautiful record. And it's a numbered, limited press run of 500, with a download code.
You can also listen to their live set from SXSW last week free over on NPR. They played a blistering 20 minute set at the Gibson Guitar Showroom. CLICK