It would be fair to say that our little seaside town is not short of talent. That’s why I was pleased to see that one of the most prominent voices on the local scene, Davey Hal, was working on his first solo album, and enthralled when he asked me to give Materials Logic an exclusive listen.
From the piano run on Soothe The Grey, the opener, you are invited into Hal’s world, a heady mix of late night love stories in a cocktail lounge. The harmonies present are ethereal, almost medieval in tone, grand. It’s strong without ever being overstated. The piano accompanies and underpins lyrics on royalty and death. This is immediately followed by Night Walking, a song with so much jazz club funk to its bassline that it forces a waltz quickstep into your feet as you attempt to move to the beat. It’s here that Hal’s voice is given the chance to sour, on a chorus that has been stuck in my head for at least the last fortnight. The song that was played on TIME107.5FM last week, finally bridging the gap between those who love Materials Logic and those who are yet to hear it. It has a In The Wee Small Hours.
White Walls sounds closer to the Davey Hal you might have seen at one of the many performances he blesses upon our town. A simple guitar track, with a strange likeness to something High Flying Birds would produce. It’s a song of attempted escape, an ode to love. The album takes a moment to recover with the instrumental track, Berdou, before Davey can pick up his guitar again and ask you to Run With Me. It’s the first real pop song of the album. It sounds like an instant classic, something beautiful and familiar. There’s a Paul Simon influence in there at times and yet another chorus worthy of being sung back by thousands of voices. Album title track Materials Logic slows matters down considerably, like a villain’s exposition in a performance, Hal’s voice starting out in a low chatter that sounds like it’s creeping before he soars, showcasing his range, crying out for an answer. The key change into the final refrain is particularly chilling.
“Head up, left foot against a wall” he begins on Fingertips before listing attributes of a lover in a seaside town. It’s equal parts affectionate and scathing, figuring that the subject is human anyway and does her hair while he’s asleep. Your Stone is close in tone to the title track, again going through the trials of some mystery woman Hal is observing and inspired by. Up Into Her Clouds is a straight-up love song, drawing on weather in the way only an Englishman can in order to explain his amore for anyone. The jaunty piano solo in the middle is reminiscent of something on Rubber Soul before Hal reveals that his admiration proved too much and turns the mood sour in the way love often does.
Dear Mary creeps in like another performance piece, sung in the early hours and utilising everything Hal has to explain the situation to his Mary to the point of his own frustration. My Senses ambles in after her, the final thoughts of a man who has given everything of his own over eleven tracks and 42 minutes. It is close to Turner’s Submarine EP in production, nothing to overcomplicate and draw from the raw talent that is Davey Hal and the showcase of this that is Materials Logic.