Monday, December 23, 2013

Dave Alpert "My World" album review

If there was ever a short list of people that make me think of the Cambridge music scene, Dave Alpert would be at the top of it. Any night of the week you may find him catching tunes (or playing on the stage) of my favorite little venue in Porter Square. Back in July, Dave released a collection of songs recorded with friends. From what I gathered from our last conversation Alpert just had a handful of tracks he was happy with, a studio that was open to record them in, and a bunch of friends who wanted in on the action. I would say if all records were recorded in this fashion the music world would be a much better place.

 “My World” is a collection of somewhat downtrodden tunes set to an upbeat soundtrack by Dave Alpert.  Alpert’s delivery throughout the short project is blunt, occasionally brooding, but bittersweet in the end. He weaves tales of characters that you route for and want to come out on top and feel optimistic that they will make it. 

Alpert has a very amicable and accessible vocal, lending itself to some commercial and radio appeal. The delivery of great hooks is that much more amplified to the listener as a result. Coupling a friendly voice with a really catchy tune is certainly prevalent throughout the 6 tracks.
The title track “My World” is perhaps the most heavy on the pop-sentiment, with some great lines and a bouncy type of feel as the song plods along over banjo plucking and a steady snare.

This is my world view / my world, my world

Another track that I am really digging on is “Find my way back to you”, it has a tiny bit of a John Hartford sound to me in the first verse. Locals will appreciate the local references throughout. Again, heavy on the stringed instruments will keep roots fans happen, but the overall tone still manages to keep the listener bopping their head and tapping their toe a bit.

To me the record hangs it hat on a bit of a nostalgic sonic quality. I get hints of 90s indie rock (ala Toad the Wet Sprocket) mixed with Roots/Bluegrass qualities courtesy of the banjo, violin, and ever present harmony vocals. It makes for a really excellent sound in the end. Add in an all star cast of players and you get a truly solid project here from Dave Alpert. There is a certain balancing act over the entire record. Not just in the genre juxtaposition, but also the mix between “acoustic simplicity” and “impressive studio production”. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing overly produced about the record, but Alpert and friends manage to take the songs and really breathe some inspiring life into them. Each song really stands strong on its own and as a collection.

Listen to “My World” on Dave’s bandcamp…and buy the damn thing, it’s only 5 bucks and gets my stamp of approval!

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