It’s weird to say this, but John Davis finally seems to be finding his own voice, his own way. After working with Q and Not U, he then formed up the pop-duo Georgie James, then went on to write the first Title Tracks record. Here, on In Blank, the approach is much simpler than previous works, just giving you straight-ahead power-pop, and in doing so, he’s giving you what seems the best demonstration of himself.
A pounding drum, quick rhythmic guitar and a somewhat spoken lyric begins on “Shaking Hands,” but it’s when John’s voice actually takes on the singing depth that the song begins to take flight. It’s an energy fueled rush that grinds to a nice sudden stop. You’ll then take on “Turn Your Face,” a song that really represents the abilities of John, and one of the things that attracts so many to his music. While the song has a similar, though more rugged, approach to the first track, it’s the ups-and-downs of his voice that make his tunes more than re-hash power-pop. He finally has control of his distinctive voice with all its little flips, and this is the song where it all seems to come together in perfect pop harmony.
While the first Title Tracks record definitely had a jangling punk troubadour sound a la Ted Leo, In Blank, as previously mentioned, begins to give John a voice that he can claim is his own. “I Can’t Hide” seems to take the best of his two latter projects and twist it all tightly in a nice little ball of good pop. Sure, there’s that straight pop-punk drumming element, but the guitar work alone begins to take on an attitude of his own. Lyrically, he’s talking about a lady and his emotions, but the song definitely seems to represent his inability to hide his own musical ideas from the world anymore. It’s at this point where John Davis has eclipsed all preconceived notions of himself. More of this follows when you arrive at the next track, “Forget the Ghost.” There seems to be a hazy little fog floating atop the song, and vocal delivery definitely begins to offer glimpses of a more developed musical palate. If you were looking for more power-fueled pop songs, then John’s here to show you he can do anything he wants, and with great success.
Of course, John’s not one to forget his roots and his early passions, bringing us that punk element in various different forms as In Blank draws to a close. You’ve got explosive power-pop, you’ve got jangling tunes, and even a bit of pop-swagger by way of “It’s Wrong.” Closing out the record, you end up having a nice little smile upon your face, happy that John Davis has been able to continually push himself, and really happy that there are some exceptional songs throughout the latest in the Title Tracks catalogue. Good album from a guy that keeps writing his own good story.
Download: Title Tracks – All Tricks [MP3]