With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

‘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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Mayhem Singles Round Up Part 4 2023 April 16, 2023

I think it’s time for another Mayhem singles round-up, don’t you? Here comes the fourth for 2023, it includes a baker’s dozen of tunes that have been passed on to me or recommended during the previous few weeks and months, there are some rather spiffing tracks.

It features many artists and bands that have appeared on Mayhem’s pages before. There are also four great cover versions in this collection. There are new tracks from Avalanche Party, Apollo Junction, Vaquelin and Liz Davinci who I think all have new albums coming out sometime this year. Judging from their latest offerings, choosing Mayhem’s album of the year for 2023 will be very difficult! Let me know what you think of this great collection of tunes!

You will find a YouTube link to each song in the title (or a link to the audio of the track) and a link to the artist’s website or one of their social media pages when you click the artist’s name. You can also find the link to a Spotify playlist of all these songs by clicking here.

Serious Dance Music” – Avalanche Party

Ain’t no party like an Avalanche Party and the AP boys are back with what is most definitely a tune for partying to. You probably wouldn’t play this at a work event! I sense an Amazing Snakeheads influence in this fast-paced, frenzied, frenetic, funky, feral, fest of a song. The band all seem to be in top form, especially Kane’s drumming. This is the first single from their upcoming sophomore album, ‘Der Traum Über Alles’. The video is very classy indeed.

History” – Apollo Junction

The Apollo Junction lads are back with another offering that will feature on their third album, due out later this year. For the first minute, it is soft, acoustic, mellow, and pensive. Then the sound continues to build with an almost drone-like guitar sound underpinning it. It finally builds to an immense orchestral-sounding, epic finish. The harmonies are superb and I can imagine this sound echoing across festival fields for years to come. Possibly my favourite Apollo Junction song so far.

The Grayston Boogie” – Hazy Janes

This is a fine slab of fuzzy, dirty, electric blues. If you are not doing the Grayston Boogie by the end of the track then frankly you should seek medical help. The video has a few fleeting tips as to how to boogie in a Grayston way!

Back To Black” – The Palava

A brave choice to cover this one. No one could ever hope to emulate the original Amy Winehouse, so the Palava choose to take the song in a different direction. An immaculate blues rock vocal and some gritty, scuzzy garage rock style guitars. I have seen the band play this live and they do it well, but this recording is so very much better than that! I bloody love it!

FKN H8 U 2” – Sad Like You

This bunch is from Adelaide, Australia and this track is reminiscent of the softer side of Blink 182. It is a close-to-perfect amalgam of great pop punk and emo. A heartfelt tale of heartbreak. I am looking forward to hearing more from Sad Like You.

Pain Reliever” – Liz Davinci

Is Liz Davinci descended from Leonardo? I don’t know, but she is certainly an incredibly talented artist. Vocally there are elements of Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, and Marcella Detroit here. 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. This augers well for her forthcoming album ‘Fata Morgana’.

Five Years” – Easy All Stars/ Steel Pulse

This is the second cover in this singles selection (there will be more) and it does what I think makes a perfect cover in that it isn’t a simple facsimile of the original. This is the first track to be released from the Easy All Stars forthcoming album of a reggae reimagining of Bowie’s ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ album. This one works perfectly and bodes well for the album. The Dame’s rarely touched reggae, and when he did it was never particularly good in my opinion. But Easy All Stars with Steel Pulse show with absolute certainty that Bowie can work in a reggae style.

Feelin’ Good” – The Black Skies Ft. Hellbound Glory

We have another cover in the singles round up. This time it is smoky, heavy, swampy, garage rock version on Nina Simone’s iconic classic “Feelin’ Good”. For me this version takes back ownership of the song from Muse after Matt Bellamy’s somewhat histrionic and over-the-top take on the tune from a few years ago.

Tell Me With Your Eyes” – Witch Of The East

Witch Of The East return with a fabulous new song. This is punk, post punk, electro, dance with a goth icing and a pinch of New Order. Based on this, if there is another Witch Of The East album in development it will be bloody wonderful.

Back-Alley Barn Dance” – I Tell Lies

Get into this band now, then when they break big you can impress your mates by saying you were there at the start. This song is full on rock with large shots of Yard Act and Sleaford Mods and a shady undercurrent of mounting anger. Go see them live as soon as you can!

Wicked Game” – JW Paris

Gemma, Danny and Aaron return with a stonking cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. It feels like the Velvet Underground made the song originally back in the 60s and then Isaak covered it in 1989. OK, I know that isn’t true, right? This must be top of the list to be on the Twin Peaks soundtrack if there is ever another remake, prequel or sequel. I love that in the blurb to the video on YouTube the band state “Dear lovers, snoggers and nighttime doggers. We’ve recorded a cover of one of our favourites in light of the smoooochin’ season” that cracked me up, well the nighttime doggers bit anyway!

The Bona Fide Money Laundering Society” – Vaquelin

Another banging tune from Vaquelin, it kicks off like Led Zeppelin on Quaaludes and the vocals are classic 70s rock style with a dash of Bowie’s Tin Machine Style. The screaming lead guitar, particularly in the last part of the track is something Mick Ronson would be proud of. The second album from Vaquelin looks like it will be better than the first based on this tune!

Greed” – The Undercover Hippy

The Undercover Hippy is an expert at protest tunes, because it is done in a very clever and subtle way. The reggae backing has shades of another great band, Captain Ska. This song questions the greed and or incompetence of our less than industrious leaders. We need more artists like this calling out the scummy liars in government.

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