Listening to Mt. Davidson’s music under his Twain moniker, you'd get the impression of a lonesome drifter. The songs sound more like found objects than actual recordings. His latest album ‘Days Of Effort And Ease’ feels like it was found on a dust encrusted cassette in the back of a derelict car in the middle of nowhere, then actually just having come out. The recordings have the same feeling of awaking dream, or a shared memory with a friend. You feel like you’ve always known them. They’ve always been part of you.
‘Parting (In Love)’ feels like a scratchy recording of an old folk song on a long-forgotten compilation from the 1960s. It’s full of space, pauses and laments, rather than being filled to the gills with dexterous finger plucking. Then there is what Davidson is actually saying, once you manage to extract yourself from the captivating music. Despite its lullaby motifs ‘Georgia’s Song’ is hinting at something deeper. It’s the realisation that a relationship isn’t as strong as originally thought, or perhaps it’s so strong that the both parties can’t see the impending breakup looming. Either why, this is what Davidson does best. He dresses up dark subject matter in breezy filigree melodies that disguise their true attentions.
Throughout ‘Days Of Effort And Ease’ Davidson’s vocals are laconic, spoken/sung things of beauty. Instead of belting it out, he uses clever runs of couplets that are economical with his word count, but also get his point across without having to be explicit. It’s almost as if he is limiting the amount of words, he can use per song like being part of a 100-word story writers’ group.
The lyrics are succinct but also vague in places. You never really get an idea of what Davidson means, only at what he is hinting at. This is evident on “Space is my body seen through a lens. How I love knowing it never ends” and “I know there ain’t nothing to tear it apart”.
This is even displayed in the title. ‘Days Of Effort And Ease’ tells you exactly what the album is about, but at the same time it creates a slight confusion in your mind. If a day is full of effort and exertion how can it be relaxing? But at the same time, if you spend a full of endeavours and work from that spent energy comes a form of contentment. And this is what Davidson does best. He creates puts together slightly contracting words to make us come to our own conclusions.
What ‘Days Of Effort And Ease’ does incredibly well is show a songwriter totally at ease with his craft. He knows what he has to do, without really breaking a sweat. The songs make us complete mental workouts piecing together the deeper meaning from meandering organ melodies, scratchy guitars and delicate strings and lilting vocals. This feels like an album that could dominate your psyche if you give it enough time. And as Davidson croons on ‘Marooning The Mountain’ - “I’ve got the time...”
Words: Nick Roseblade
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