If you’ve been following the life of John Davis, then chances are you’ve enjoyed a great deal of music. He made waves with his role as the drummer in Q and Not U, then jumped into the pop world with Georgie James. Now, he’s playing under the name Title Tracks, which brings in some new sensibilities on It Was Easy. You’ll find traces of his work in both previous bands on the album, but you’ll also see a new direction coming through.
As it all begins, you get “Every Little Bit Hurts,” which definitely has one foot in Georgie James, yet you can feel the ghost of Ted Leo (or his spirit, since he’s not dead, thank God) making his presence known. The guitar sounds are similar, and the drumming is spectacular (done by John himself). Why we know that Ted uses The Jam and Nick Lowe as reference points, you can see John go straight to Ted; just look at the way he tries to hit that falsetto note near the end of the track.
And so he slows it down to a little dub-step number with “No, Girl.” Here yo see the pop sensibility of Georgie James coming through. If it weren’t for the reggae-ish guitar, then it might very well be one of the leftover demos from his old group. This isn’t a knock on the man, as GJ surely had some great elements across Cake Parade.
This is one of the most important notes from It Was Easy. A lot of these songs wear the mark of Georgie James, and to be honest, a lot of the sonic exploration Q and Not U did with their last album Power. John clearly isn’t staying in once place, which might be one of the reasons that this album just doesn’t blow you out of the water; you can see his next release being something ridiculously good.
One of the treats for me was listening to “Tougher Than the Rest,” a number which features my favorite Tracyanne Campbell. Her voice is simply to wonderful to be ignored completely, yet it once again brings about the idea that John hasn’t fully left the ideas behind from the whole Georgie James affair. Still, they lyrics are really heartfelt, and it’s precisely the thing you expect Tracyanne to be singing.
You’ll want to listen to “It Was Easy” and “At Fifteen” as these are two of the songs which really show you that John is trying to step out of the shadow of his past. “At Fifteen” is one of those sleeper tracks that I can see being one of my favorites. It’s nothing more than guitar and whispering vocals; it’s just the sort of think I adore.
Closing out It Was Easy is a cover of The Byrds “She Don’t Care About Time,” just one more signal to the abundance of influences for John Davis. Title Tracks have made a good start, but the one thing lacking is just a bit more cohesiveness all over. Sure, the record is full of great songs and great influences (I’m looking at you Ted), but you can see a bright future in store for John Davis once he tightens the reins and kicks into gear.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/04-Piles-Of-Paper.mp3]
Download: Title Tracks – Piles Of Paper [MP3]