Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Not only does David Serby have an affinity, a sort of undisputed empathy with the emotions of humanity; the desire to get deep down and dirty in the psychology of what drives us all, but his way of getting that affinity across is almost pure and full. He has that great skill of being able to hear without speaking, for listening with full attention and giving a song of great humour and emotion in return in the album David Serby & The Great Scam.
His change of direction from his previous album, the wonderful Poor Man’s Poem is marked, the look away from the collective pain felt by a nation under stress, physically and economically, is replaced by a collection of songs that deal in some way with the art of communication, or indeed the lack of communication in some cases and thirdly in how we can same the things as someone else but mean an entirely different thing. It is the ability to converse in many different ways that has set humanity apart from the rest of nature and the way David Serby’s folk-roots mind plays with language and the dishonesty and honesty reflects this perfectly.
With 20 songs spread over a double C.D. set there is never a dull moment in which the music might wash over the listener and find them reflecting on anything other than the great tracks that fill this album to the brim. The ease in which the enjoyment of each song fills up the room, the beauty of lyrics that don’t just fill the brain but take it on a long ride through the complexity of desire and emotions, is remarkable.
Such stunning simplicity should not really be possible but David Serby, with supporting musicians Edward Tree, Gregory Boaz and Dale Daniel, makes songs such as Amnesia, Walking Out The Storm, the fantastic You’re Bored, Those Ain’t My Dreams, I Still Miss You, Everybody Loves A Fool and Better With My Hands, feel as though the musician and lyric writer has been taking down notes from your private diary and inner thoughts and taken them to his own heart, treated them with care and turned them into a collection of songs that really gets down to the point of humanity, the basic fact of wanting to feel love and the fear of what happens when that love is revealed.
David Serby & The Latest Scam is an album in which life feels affirmed and which should be celebrated, even when love kicks you in the teeth, you have still felt something very special. Very cool and very enjoyable.
David Serby & The Latest Scam is available from January 21st.
Ian D. Hall