With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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‘Fata Morgana’ – Liz Davinci May 19, 2023

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:34 pm
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Liz Davinci‘s new album ‘Fata Morgana’ is an absolute delight and one of those great albums where you need to listen from start to finish and do not feel the need to skip a single track. Is Liz Davinci descended from Leonardo? I don’t know, but she is certainly an incredibly talented artist. The album opens with the recent single “Pain Reliever” which I reviewed a few weeks ago and said that “This tune is beautiful and almost baroque in its construction. I love the way that Liz is not afraid to use the space between the notes” and having listened to it plenty of times since then I stand by that statement! “Mirage”, like much of the album showcases Liz’s stunning vocal style backed by just her classical keyboard notes. Lyrically she weaves wonderful stories that are reminiscent of Kate Bush. Has there ever been a song about the journey of a coin? I’m not sure but with Liz Davinci’s “One Silver Dollar” there is now, this definitely has some influence from Ms. Bush but whilst it doesn’t have the full-on Mael Brothers attack it does remind me of the softer moments from the Sparks canon, notably “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth”. If you have been searching for a dark summer anthem look no further than the wonderful “Cherry July”. Davinci’s voice here feels innocent, open, and yet deeply exciting at the same time. I love tunes that are kind of wished-for or desired travelogues and “Another Lollipop” is one of those. How many songs fit in lyrics about working on a laptop and album drops and also manage to give a verbal tour of Europe? None until now! “I’m Through With Love” has the feel of an epic 1970s ballad that might have been composed by Lynsey de Paul had she decided to go down a less pop-driven route.

An earlier single “Purple Jesters” is currently my favourite track from the album. It sums up everything that is great about Liz Davinci. Great hooks, great harmonic vocals, keys that are content to explore and expose open spaces, and wonderfully clear and fresh production. It has a medieval jazz feel something like a Tudor period Steely Dan might have created. “Interlude – March 24” is a really strange spoken word piece that feels like it might have been taken straight from the pages of Liz’s diary, is it about a lost love or an unrequited love? I have no idea but I love its romantic quirkiness. Liz channels the quiet and less manic moments from Lene Lovich in “Fly On The Wall”. I have never been an aficionado of musicals or cabaret but “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” feels like it has jumped out of the kind of stage musical that even I would like, and I am not a big fan of the genre. I can sense Sparks in the words here and Marcella Detroit in the voice. Perhaps one of the most gorgeously chilled tracks in this collection is “Body Lines”, although there is a menacingly dark musical motif toward the end. If Kate Bush was ever to write a song with Leo Sayer it might well have sounded like “Dixie Theatre”. It has the Baroque Bop feel of some of the earlier tracks and exudes Liz Davinci’s wonderful weirdness. The album closes with an emotionally charged tune in “End Of The Sea” which appears to be drawn from the deepest recesses of the Davinci mind with a voice that raised memories of Suzanne Vega for me. This is not the first Liz Davinci album and I hope it won’t be the last. But it will always be one of her finest and is definitely a contender for Album of the Year 2023! Get some Liz Davinci in your life now, you won’t regret it. I hope we get to see Liz play some UK dates sometime and I also hope to interview her soon, so watch out for that!

UPDATE – My musical education continues. There are actually three covers on this beautiful collection, all three were sung by Marilyn Monroe and one was actually written by her too. Liz Davinci provided me with this information shortly after I had posted this review. I want to make it clear though that Liz has very much made these covers her own! “One Silver Dollar” was written by Marilyn Monroe, “I’m Through With Love” was written by Fud Livingston, Gus Khan, and Matty Malneck, and “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” was written by Irving Berlin. I am so pleased that I can still learn new stuff every day!

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