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Dave Depper – The Ram Project

Dave Depper, The Ram Project

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ON THE one hand, there’s a sense of ‘why bother?’ when listening to Dave Depper’s The Ram Project. But on the other, there’s a slow-mounting feeling of ‘well played sir’.

The Ram Project is Depper’s personal venture to reconstruct Paul McCartney’s solo album Ram, piece by piece, at home by himself in a mere 30 days.

Spawned by a sense of being in a personal rut and driven by a deep desire to complete something of his own, Depper set about giving himself the craziest challenge he could think of.

And so, over the course of one month, he began obsessively hacking away at McCartney’s record, often working marathon 12-hour sessions at a time. He had a couple of guitars, a keyboard, a Rickenbacker bass and a laptop.

Lacking drums, he borrowed a kit from a friend and, having only one microphone, recorded each drum individually. He also enlisted fellow Portlander Joan Hiller to perform the background harmonies once provided by the late Linda McCartney.

The result has been mixed as true to the original Ram as possible, with only the odd embellishment or personal stamp – hence, the same sense of feeling you get from watching a shot-for-shot film remake.

But then there’s also a begrudging sense of appreciation too. Depper has worked tirelessly to recreate an album he clearly loves and which has stretched himself creatively in the process.

He clearly had to work hard to recreate the 1971 sound of the original (which really harks back to that era) as well as sing and perform all the instrumentals.

And there are some rousing cover versions, from the bluesy 3 Legs, to the breezy, doo-wop psych-rock of Smile Away, the disarming banjo backdrop of Ram On and the trippy tendencies of Dear Boy.

And heck, if you’ve been moved and inspired recently by the contemporary likes of Pop Levi or The Voluntary Butler Scheme, then this is a good reminder of where they drew their inspiration from at times.

With that in mind, The Ram Project is well worth a listen. It’s a good record in its own right that should also win McCartney’s original plenty more fans.

Download picks: 3 Legs, Ram On, Smile Away, Eat At Home, Dear Boy

Track listing:

  1. Too Many People
  2. 3 Legs
  3. Ram On
  4. Dear Boy
  5. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
  6. Smile Away
  7. Heart of the Country
  8. Monkberry Moon Delight
  9. Eat At Home
  10. Long Haired Lady
  11. Ram On (Reprise)
  12. The Back Seat of My Car