Playful tempos punctuated with funk-influenced electric guitar. Twelve-bar blues taken out for a walk with a chilling bassline that throttles us into a wistful chorus. The lusty timbre of Derrick Davis’ honeysweet singing infiltrating an iridescent harmony at the peak of its catharsis. Whether it be “Best I Can,” “Blow Song,” “Hunter” or any of the other seven tracks that comprise his all-new album Anti-Social, Davis is bent on getting your attention in this most recent affair, and if the slick grooves don’t win your heart, the undying hooks they frame most definitely will. For this critically acclaimed, Austin-born singer/songwriter, the little details are just as important as the big ones, and that’s why his music is garnering all of the adulation that it has been lately.
Anti-Social has a very physical master mix, but the production quality itself is quite streamlined and minimalistic. Tracks like “Carry Me,” “Clark Kent,” “Livin” and “Life of the Party” don’t cut any corners stylistically (in fact, quite the contrary), but are vaulted at us with a sense of urgency that keeps the pace of the songs steadily moving forward, even when the tempo of the music slows down a bit for pendulous ballads like “End of Days.” At his most reflective, Davis brazenly flanks a vulnerable verse with crushing bass and decadent string arrangements, which not only ensure that the tone never becomes overly self-centered, but also that the boisterous hooks remain at center stage in any given song. This is his most engaging album yet, and despite its wide-open accessibility, possibly his most personal as well.
Sharp rhythm ignites the percussion in “Livin” and “All I Need to Know,” but in tracks like the countrified sizzler “Blow Song,” Davis’ string section steals the lion’s share of our affections in what can only be described as a full-bodied instrumental tour de force. His lyrics are never slighted in the big picture, but there’s a lot to be said about the tonality of his instrumentation on this album, which frankly, is just as responsible for Anti-Social’s crossover appeal as its experimental construction is. Derrick Davis appears to have no qualms about exploring every facet of his sonic profile, and in this LP, he proves that nothing is going to stop him from exploiting his tremendous talent for all that its worth.
This is some incredible music from a really gifted songwriter who has unquestionably found his groove and knows exactly how to use it to his advantage. Anti-Social is riddled with a provocative swagger that you don’t find everyday, both in the mainstream and in the underground, and to call it anything less than a divine masterpiece for Davis simply wouldn’t be true. He’s got a lot of expectations around him at the moment, and for good reason. With records like this one and his exotic extended play The Burnout under his belt, I don’t think that there’s any question as to whether or not he’s well on his way to superstardom. Those who need further evidence should make a point of getting their hands on this new disc as soon as possible.