A promising debut EP from a British artist worth watching out for in 2011.
Mike Diver 2011-02-23
A solo talent flitting between Patrick Wolf and Villagers, David’s Lyre – aka solo artist Paul Dixon – clearly has plenty of potential to become a pop force that falls between instant appeal and indie-er tastes. This five-track taster certainly leaves appetites far from whetted, and should set their maker in good stead for a fine 2011 indeed.
The sales pitch talks of glitches and bleeps underpinning traditional songwriting, but it’s unlikely that Dixon is ever going to be categorised alongside, say, James Blake. This is a far fuller approach, electronic aspects sounding like late-addition embellishments and often rather superfluous when a track is properly assessed. Constellation, for example, is a lovely, simple number – a piano, a voice, little else – that doesn’t really need its circuit-board chirrups when they arrive. While past remix form, on tracks by Marina & The Diamonds and Chapel Club, might imply an approach vector from the dance world, In Arms paints a different picture. This is pure pop first, albeit of an endearingly understated variety, and everything else comes next.
The title-track’s opening horns lends the piece a bucolic edge, the end product something like Tunng fronted by Tim Booth – it’s the James singer who Dixon instantly attracts a parallel to (to these ears, anyway) – or Tom Vek if he’d ever got around to following up his great debut of 2005 and decided to lean on the alterna-folk stylings of Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn for a little influence. It’s a pretty little number, rather underdeveloped for a lead single proper – an album charge will need to be fronted by something a little more forceful – but charming nonetheless.
These Trees is a little close to the studied melancholy of Keane or Athlete for some tastes, though its rougher form and somewhat tarnished tone – a plus in this instance – do make it rather more appealing than those artists’ exercises in self-pity. This I Know, similarly, sings of mistakes and missteps rather than anything positive; but Dixon is well aware of the need to keep proceedings punchy, and here synthesised beats do suit the track. It all adds up to a package showcasing an artist of much promise. Should Dixon find a little more of his own voice in his next work, so the numerous comparisons fall by the wayside, he could be onto something special.