AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
 
David James Stewart - Things That Make Us Album Cover

David James Stewart - Things That Make Us

Reviewed by
7.7
David James Stewart - Things That Make Us
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: January 2009
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Christian music. Just the phrase itself will make one turn away, skip a page, turn off the stereo, etc. David James Stewart is a Twin Cities singer/songwriter who writes catchy pop-rock songs, and is, gulp, a Christian singer/songwriter. His eleven song debut CD Things That Make Us has a splash of worship music, lively radio rock and an inherent knack for balladeering. Stewart's penchant for safe, mild-mannered rock is pleasing and comfortable, but at times is prone to missteps.This is most evidenced by the first four tracks, which try to be modern-day, Billboard radio rock a la Vertical Horizon and Snow Patrol, but what results is an utter failure.

Of the first four only "Chemical Reaction" and "Just Like The Moo " are memorable. Opener "Northbound," finds Stewart trying too hard to sing and is completely over-powered and outnumbered by the music, as does third song "Sweeter." When the album moves to fifth song, "A Lover's Lullaby," the mood completely shifts. His voice sounds controlled, cozy and inviting. There's little to dislike about "Lullaby," and it is for all intents and purposes the epitome of a romantic ballad. While the lyrics are Rod Stewart-lite ("I'll take a chance, take a risk, let some love into my midst, step into the light and trust that I am going to be all right, tonight") the sentiment and tone are flawless.

From here, the album turns in a different direction. Every song from here on out sounds solid with little missteps. Even the uptempo rockers find Stewart and his voice calm, controlled and focused. There's no oversinging like on the earlier half, there are no attempts to try and dominate the radio charts, there's just solid first-rate musicianship. Take for example the coasting, midtempo "When Eleanor Can't Sleep," a dreamy, cinematic yarn about desire and hope, which finds him singing, "And if you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be? I would be an apple to feed our family. You could be a willow, one that never weeps. And in the comfort of your shade, Eleanor can sleep." On the surface, it's not that dissimilar to thousands of other mid-tempo offerings from able, talented vocalists, but for some reason, there's a magic and an earnestness that's hard to ignore, even if the lyrics are somewhat saccharine. Those two simple skills are worn well on the duration of Things That Make Us and it's why Stewart remains an artist to remember.

While he's still a lyricist in progress, there's enough substance here to catapult him to a more consistent effort next time out and one hopes this is the springboard to larger venues, devoted fans and hundreds of daily tweets. That won't happen though, if he doesn't come out of the gate firing, and sound more at ease and relaxed. Taking four songs to get an album started is a tremendous tactical blunder, and one hopes this is the last time that happens. Of course, whether any of this really happens remains to be seen, but for now, Minneapolis should be proud to call David James Stewart their own.

Recommended If You Like Ten Shekel Shirt, Copeland, Leeland, Seabird, Grey's Anatomy soundtrack


Myspace
Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4
07:12 PM on 04/19/09
#2
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
You seem to get a lot of music from the Twin Cities...I don''t know if I've asked you, do you have any connection here?
10:36 AM on 04/20/09
#3
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
You seem to get a lot of music from the Twin Cities...I don''t know if I've asked you, do you have any connection here?
Ha! Thanks for noticing! To be honest, I'm just a really big fan of their music scene. Some of my favorite bands were formed there. From The Honydogs and Son Volt to Soul Asylum and The Replacements. It's just redonkulously good. Gotta be magic particles in the water there or something.
08:59 AM on 04/21/09
#4
Holly HoX!
*
Offline
User Info.
Holly HoX!'s Avatar
Ha! Thanks for noticing! To be honest, I'm just a really big fan of their music scene. Some of my favorite bands were formed there. From The Honydogs and Son Volt to Soul Asylum and The Replacements. It's just redonkulously good. Gotta be magic particles in the water there or something.
yeah...the i think it's in our delicious tap water.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate