Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doug Powell - Day For Night - 2004

Even if he wasn't already known for some professional associations with Todd Rundgren, Day for Night couldn't fail to recall much of the work by the Todd-man, in approach and production if not specific riffs and songs. There's that same confident command of an arsenal of instruments and high-sheen technological textures, as well as an inclination to temper that gloss with wistful romantic melodies, keyboards, and singing. It's way too slick to be "underground," yet too idiosyncratic in its one-man dazzle to be mainstream. Both the melodies and the arrangements have a soaring quality, sung by Powell with good-natured energy even when the words are a little ambiguous and distraught. Powell's good at using synthetic backdrops that sound creepy without getting overly icy, something that helps balance sweeter outings like "Silent Kisses," which can veer a bit into too sleekly anthemic territory. Getting beyond the artifice, the songs here are well crafted and full of all kinds of hard to trace electronic squiggles and left turns, but a little lacking in killer tunes or unalloyed heart. It's too eclectic an album to easily box, though, with "Stanislaw Smith" being a throwback to the eccentric character sketches of the likes of Roy Wood and Ray Davies, "Invincible" guaranteed to appeal to fans of traditional guitar power pop, and "Goodbye Lady Godiva" getting into the theatrical piano ballads pioneered by Paul McCartney and other British rockers. -AMG


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting story: his debut, Ballad of the Tin Men, was released on Mercury. The label didn't want to release it, but they wanted to get rid of the A&R man that signed him. So they released it, allowed only 100 dollars for promotion and advertising, and used its failure as reason to get rid of the guy.

Anonymous said...

The other day I saw an article by an "industry insider" and all around expert about how music blogging has died, why and how it happened, etc. Meanwhile, here in the real world, all the "new" and "new to me" music that I am enthusiastic about has one thing in common: I would not know it exists, without the efforts of Curly Ray and others of like mind - and connections, and resources! - who just keep blowing my mind. The present offering is a fine example.

Curty Ray said...

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