Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tales Of Silversleeve - Cathy Davey

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It's easy to be flippant isn't it? Yet another female singer-songwriter, following up a critically praised but, outside her native Ireland, slow selling debut album. But please, stay with me. For a start this isn't your typical dross, forced on us by record companies chasing the next easy pound for their accounts.

Wit, invention and rhythm are lacking in a lot of modern music (of course, really they're not, but I'm making a point here), three things that Tales Of Silversleeve has in spades.

In fact if I hear a better opening to an album than the first five tracks on here, (Sing For Your Supper, Reuben, The Collector, Moving, Mr Kill) then I will, quite literally, eat my hat. Sing For Your Supper is, simply, a beautiful love song but has so many levels that I couldn't possibly begin to list them all here. Reuben is a piano driven stomper and is the kind of thing that Scouting For Girls might come up with if they weren't a tool of the devil designed to lure 12 year old girls into buying a "proper" record. Indie comes next, with the delightfully jaunty The Collector and just when you think you've got as close to working her out as you are likely to, Moving steps in, with a dancey vibe (technical term that) to totally shatter your conception of what Davey is capable of. Then she changes tack, with the fantastic baseline of Mr. Kill, a funky groovetapper if ever I've heard one.

What follows the amazing opening quintet isn't half bad either. In fact it's probably only that the first five tracks are SO excellent, that you even notice there is an ever so slight drop in quality. And if we're being honest, anything from track six onwards would still be the best song on Adele's album by a country mile.

It even has a 60's style track, Rubbish Ocean, to please those looking for the next thing to take Amy Winehouse's place if she ever gets around to dying from that drug overdose.

And whilst some might argue, and not entirely without merit, that her musical promiscuity stops the album from having an overriding identity of it's own I would take the opposite view. Tales Of Silversleeve is too good to be allowed to limit its scope. Better records may come along in 2008, but I'd be surprised if any are better than this.

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