Sidewalk Dave is a New Haven icon. His albums keep getting progressively better. No wonder New London's The Telegraph Recording Company was quick to sign him! New Haven's Mandee Potter reviews his new LP "Hard On Romance" after the break.
The folk rock band, from New Haven, Conn, Sidewalk Dave's new release, “Hard on Romance,” brings something new to the table, which you hear right from the start of the first song, “2k Girls.” The sound is moody and compliments Dave's vocals. The next song, “Something About Me,” a very guitar driven song that is similar to past Sidewalk Dave songs such as “Weird Word for Strange” and their cover of “Chord Organ Blues”.
“Wait Forever,” a very grungy song, and “Cayenne” with it's mellower sound compliment each other perfectly. And it is Dave's vocals that ties them together. You can sense his emotions and his longing through out both tracks.
“Honey Bee” is a rather haunting twisted love song; Dave compares himself to a drone bee who dies shortly after mating with the queen. And “Two Thousand Women: Reprise” acts as a funeral song. “Happiness Is An Art: We Must Learn While We're Apart” is a song that any twenty-something person out there can relate with. The song has a truth that no one really wants to deal with, but has to.
“Soft Portal” brings the listener back into a guitar driven folk rock sound we've all come to know and love from Sidewalk Dave. Listening to it makes one want to get up and dance. It is filled with the energy of Sidewalk Dave's live show.
“Climbing Out The Window” has the perfect amount of old and new in it. Again, this song has that sound that is obviously Sidewalk Dave. It hints at the the groups new sound, which is apparent throughout the album. The album ends on a slower note with “Wake Up, Baby”. The drums sound like a slow heart beat and it brings you back to a sound much like that of the song “Wallet,” on their first release, “Songs for Cowards”. The slow drumming, and Dave's vocals work wonderfully together. It brings everything together at the end of this amazing release.
To me, “Hard on Romance” is Sidewalk Dave's “White Album.” Which was, at the time, vastly different from any other album The Beatles had put out. If you listen to it by itself it's intense, experimental, all over the place, and just plain different. If you think about it within the context of their career, and their lives – it makes perfect sense. I'm not saying that Sidewalk Dave has dropped acid, or sat in the corner of a studio with his own Yoko-Ono; “Hard on Romance” if listened to alone is very different from previous releases, but at the same time has a sense of familiarity. You hear a sound that you have come to know as Sidewalk Dave, but they are pushing the limits and making you think of them in a whole new way. I enjoy it when a band can make me re-think the way I think of their music, and enjoy the new just as much as I enjoyed what made me like them in the first place. Well done, Sidewalk Dave. Bravo!
Thank YOU, Mandee!