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Music Review

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Nothing Matters


Artist: Benjamin Lazar Davis
Label: 11A Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 04 May 2018

Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, arranger, composer, and producer Benjamin Lazar Davis releases his debuts solo album. Perhaps best know for his writing and performing with Okkervil River, Cuddle Magic, and on 2016’s acclaimed record 'Let It Be You' with Joan As Police Woman, Nothing Matters is Davis’ first step out on his own...

Nothing Matters came out of an extensive period of touring followed by a difficult break up. To make the record, Davis spent all of his money on instruments and recording gear, including drums and drum machines, both nylon and steel string acoustic guitars, an electric and an upright bass, a pump organ, a mellotron, a Moog, and an upright piano. He worked on the record every day, for 30 straight days, in his childhood bedroom at his parents' house in Saratoga Springs, and once finished, he mixed it back in Brooklyn with his high school friend Luke Moellman (GGFO).

Although there are no other performers on the record, many collaborations went into the writing of the album, including co-writes with Kimbra ('Right Direction'), Alex Toth of Rubblebucket and Alexander F ('Love Song Seven Ways', 'Life Is Dangerous', and 'Choosing Sides'), Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive ('Somebody's Speaking For Me'), singer-songwriter Taylor Ashton ('Brass Tacks'), award-winning poet Michael Gizzi ('Acquitted'), and his brother, Tim Davis.

The title for the album came after Davis found a photo of his father lounging beneath a hand-written sign that read "Nothing Matters". The photo, which was taken in 1969 in Malawi Africa where he lived at the time, ended up becoming the album's cover artwork.

The LP opens with 'A Love Song Seven Ways' which kicks the album perfectly. It's a catchy, retro sounding track that gets into your head. The rest of the LP, however, is more of a slow burner. The tracks, if you don't pay close attention, will drift over you as it lazily, dreamily ticks by.

It's an enjoyable album, but one you'll need to invest a lot of time in to get the best out of it. As debut solo releases go, this is pretty solid.


Nick Smithson

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