Artists on Artists
On 30, Nov 2015 | In Artists on Artists | By jane
David Newberry’s third release, Replacement Things is an album by turns hopeful then disillusioned then hopeful again—reflective, bold, and sonically ambitious. At times it feels as if he’s exposing the listener’s personal trials and failures through the songs, but he gets away with it by offering up his own with directness and accuracy. This record sounds and feels current. It’s not clean, it was made by someone who listened to music in the 90s, by someone who looks for the thread that connects us all within life’s contradictions. Replacement Things is, at its core, a rock n’ roll record with heart, soul and intelligence.
Newberry has the ability to level the playing field between mundane and monumental experiences in a way that gives them all value. This album places the songs on the front lines and they stand up—all the while being supported by noteworthy Vancouver musicians and by producer Jesse Gander. In this musical era where artists often shy away from saying something, anything, Newberry says a lot in these songs. He claims, ‘I’ve never been one for shutting up’, and he doesn’t, not once.
David Newberry is described as a literate indie-rock songwriter. Which pretty much sums up Replacement Things. Just when a song veers in the direction of losing to wordiness, he proves his skill with melody and sings a hook that makes the whole song fall into place. All production aside, we would still be left with a collection of songs that hold up regardless of genre. This is demonstrated best when Newberry, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, sings The Edge Where The Flawless Becomes The Obscene, a song which is raw with the human condition and the light found in the broken bits. This song, and the record as a whole, is written from an openhearted place of self reflection and holds the mirror up to those dark quiet places in everyone.
Replacement Things offers up an assortment of indie-rock guitar tones, vocal hooks and sophisticated bridges. It briefly changes sonic direction with The War on Drugs-esque Lost in the Content which features soaring guitar grunge, moody melodies and scathing vocals. Newberry is right at home with roots rockers such as Aftermath which pays homage to a grand tradition of anthemic folk rockers over the ages. He sometimes gets caught up in his own comments on humanity—and then comments on it; ‘I don’t wanna be an observer anymore’. And although he claims, ‘we were honest once, we’re not honest anymore’, the final and stand out track, Freddy Mercury, is about as honest and personal as they come. It comes from a place where everything is stripped away, and commenting on our humanness cannot be managed apart from commenting on oneself. It’s more than a little weird. Which I love.
Life’s most basic lessons and desires present themselves in this collection of songs. Replacement Things finds beauty, poetry and even joy in this crazy wondrous world we live in, and Newberry sings about it loudly.
Review written by Miss Quincy for Mojo Junction – ‘Artists on Artists’
Listen and buy your copy of Replacement Things here.
Check out more about David Newberry here.