Album review: David Simon – Collision

David Simon - Collision (2010)

Full of glossy guitar rakes, whirring synths, wobbly moog lines and pitch-perfect vocals, electro pop (think Kaci Battaglia, Saint Etienne, Marina & The Diamonds) is dominating the radio waves. For listeners seeking a less-synthy something, Goldsmiths graduate David Simon’s impressive 2010 debut ‘Collision’ is well worth a listen.

Drawing from a wide breadth of styles including jazz, classic radio pop, Latin and gospel blues tinged with singer-songwriting charm, the album is brimming with raw youthful energy. Using a rich vein of life experiences and turmoil as inspiration, Simon at times errs on the side of becoming another generic guy-with-a-piano (just listen to that made-for-radio ‘Shut Your Eyes’). But  never gets to that point – probably because of his heart-felt lyrics and nectar-sweet vocals.

Simon, a Goldsmiths graduate who lives in Dulwich, says he tried to stay as true as he could to the recording process, and it shows. Despite the well-polished studio sheen, ‘Collision’ never feels overwhelmingly slick and over-produced. The energy is there, too – the launch party at Camden’s Jazz Café on the 16th was a sell-out success (supported by Lisbee Stainton’s lovely acoustic set), and the album manages to capture the explosive drive of his live performances.

David live at the Jazz Cafe launch party (Photo: Jane PR)

‘Collision’ is made up of hard-hitting drums, fuzzy British overdrive-charged electric guitar, a horn section that includes trumpet and trombone, a clarinet and acoustic Latin guitars all held down by his sparkling piano melodies. Recorded in parts of London, Oxford and Essex (as seen on BBC ‘s Introducing Essex), a lot of what you hear is played by musicians he worked with in the past. While his pop-tastic tracks are catchy and a fun listen, where David shines the most and showcases his flexible songwriting skills is on ‘Transitions’. Much like the song title suggests, the song flows from a gentle ballad into a raw soulful breakdown, followed by an almost Latin-esque groove that peaks with an up-tempo rock ‘n roll jam before ending in a quiet husky whisper.

David Simon – Transitions

Simon’s saccharine vocals (fleshed out with female backing vocalists) cut through the mix, and they sound even better on-stage. All it takes is a few listens before you find yourself singing along – a fresh, honest alternative to manufactured commercial pop.

His next single ‘It’s Not About Me’ is set to be released on the 25th of July, where all proceeds will go towards David’s charity of choice, ‘Child Rescue’. The single can be purchased here.

Click here to preview his entire album and purchase a copy. Gig dates can be seen on his official Myspace.

One Response

  1. shaz April 18, 2012

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