Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This Davenport is not a small desk...

Did you know that tennis player Lindsay Davenport's father was named Wink? This is totally unrelated to the blog, but I think it's crazy/great that someone named their child Wink, though the little one that my wife and I are currently expecting will not be named Wink or Snuffles or Apple or whatever else the kids are naming their kids these days.

I discovered that little tidbit about Wink Davenport when I was google-ing my subject for this blog, Bart Davenport. There were a couple other albums in the Ear To The Sound docket that I was considering for my next post but Palaces forced its way to the top of the pile in short order and with great effusiveness. That's because I am a sucker for quality pop songcraft and succumb readily to horns, handclaps and 'ba-ba-bah's.' There's a reason Acid House Kings' Sing Along With... was my number one album a few years back (and you can bet your back-teeth that when the follow-up to that album drops you'll be reading about it here).

You might recognize Davenport's name from his other project, a pretty sweet amalgam of soul, pop and beats called Honeycut. His solo stuff finds him eschewing the beats and only dabbling in the soul while immersing himself in the pop. Which is alright by me.

Things start slowly with the title track. "Palaces" is a wistful, delicate little tune that manages to be both breezy and wrapped in ennui at the same time. After several listens I've finally placed what it reminds me of: "Swimming Suit" from Tahiti 80's fantastic Puzzle. Both strike the same note (a harmonic minor?); one that is perfect for the expectation and dread that comes with the
turning of the leaves and all the back-to-school-ness it connotes.

The 'ba-ba-bah's' arrive with full-force on "Jon Jon," which, were it not for the spelling I would swear had been written specifically for my friend John Gordon who hosts Pop Infusion and also goes ape-shit for pop goodness. It's an infectious song that has people singing along almost immediately.

"Jon Jon" is followed by "A Young One," a song that sounds like a Motown outtake with its drum and glockenspiel intro, though Davenport's croon is a little more whitebread and tongue in cheek than Smokey Robinson and the like. You can hear it for yourself in the video below Palaces is a bit front-loaded with the best material and starts to lose steam in the middle but there are still some pop gems that merit listening the whole way through.

So here's the video for "A Young One"

Palaces is out on Antenna Farm Records and is also available digitally with vinyl to follow in October.

Be sure to visit Bart's Myspace page (where "Jon Jon" is streaming) and his official website, as well as his 'other' project Honeycut.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...