What does it sound like?:
Ever since those giants of mature American power pop, Fountains of Wayne, called it a day, there has been a gap in the market for their particular blend of witty, acerbic and tuneful guitar pop. Scott Klass, musical colleague of FoW’s singer Chris Collingsworth, has making something very like that under the name of The Davenports since the turn of the century, though it’s a lot less glossy and a bit more chamber-pop. Klass’s speciality is the small snapshot of social awkwardness – previous songs have concerned boyfriends making a scene after a drink too many, porn-addicted workmates and commiserating a friend after the over-long visit of a self-pitying loser. Don’t Be Mad at Me is the fifth Davenports album, and such is their relative obscurity that I hadn’t noticed its arrival this summer because I don’t do Facebook.
DBMAM contains two previous standalone singles and a cover of Wham’s Freedom taken from a tribute album, all released ages ago, and I’m keen to see where the other songs fit in and how the collection holds together. From stark piano-only waltzes to Kinksy guitar rock it’s a good mix, and the songs’ stories have a more familial slant – the placing of a framed loved one’s photo, the sorrow at taking the car keys from an aunt with dementia. Yet despite the topics, and the spare arrangements, there’s beauty and warmth. The Wham! cover tucked away in the graveyard slot of one-before-the-end is fun but sticks out a little – I’d rather have heard another original. As a whole, however, this is just the ticket. I’m glad I (eventually) discovered its existence.
What does it all *mean*?
There’s always room for wordy, thoughtful popular music.
Goes well with…
A big mug of tea, looking out of the window at a November sunset.
Might suit people who like…
Fountains of Wayne, Ben Folds, Village Green-era Kinks