Camren Von Davis – Bobby Barbados (CD)

“Cactus Lizard” is the initial track on “Bobby Barbados”, and it showcases a very interesting musical style. Von Davis creates a folky, singer-songwriter type of music but creates a narrative style that is not typically present in this style of music. “Cactus Lizard” discusses the quandary of being a lizard where everyone else is a cactus, allowing Von Davis to add a little bit of Mexican influence to the track. The track gradually increases in speed with the danger felt by Von Davis’ character, until that point when “Clouds of Poison” starts up. “Clouds of Poison” is a track that drastically increases the technical complexity of “Bobby Barbados”, blending together drums, guitar, and bass into a scintillating track that shifts back and forth between the constituent elements acting in a harmonious and a dissonant way.

While there is not as much of a narrative aspect to “Clouds of Poison”, the track is as important as “Cactus Lizard” because it shows that what Von Davis is doing here is testing the boundaries of what is possible with music. While few individuals would link what Von Davis is doing during “Bobby Barbados” to post-modern classical composers, I see some similarity in “Bobby Barbados” to what Kryzsztof Pendrecki, John Cage, or Philip Glass have done in the last forty years. Where Cage used silence and Pendrecki did works based on Hiroshima, Von Davis is destroying assumptions and creating something completely new in each track on “Bobby Barbados”. There are tracks that would work in traditional conceptions of pop music on “Bobby Barbados” – the building speed and gravity of “Pickle Jar” is but an example – but taken together, what listeners will find on “Bobby Barbados” is nothing short of a re-envisioning of what music is and what music can be used to do.

“Humans” has a shuffling style to it that frames Von Davis’ vocals in a different way, moving from the singer-songwriter tag to something that is much more closely oriented to beat poetry than traditional music. Camren Von Davis has a great career ahead of him, and subsequent albums will undoubtedly continue to expand upon the narrative style that was first created during “Bobby Barbados”. If you want your mind, as well as what you feel that music can do and what it can say, find a way to purchase Camren Von Davis’ “Bobby Barbados”. You will not regret it.

Top Tracks: Mr. 2, God Bless The Child

Rating: 7.2/10

Camren Von Davis – Bobby Barbados / 2008 Self / 13 Tracks / /

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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