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David’s Lyre – Picture of Our Youth (Review)

David's Lyre, Picture of Our Youth

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DAVID’S Lyre is the latest, albeit short-lived, incarnation of singer-writer-producer Paul Dixon. But don’t get too used to it… for this debut release will also be his last.

Available on a pay-what-you-want-basis exclusively from Bandcamp, the album marks Dixon’s departure from a music scene he has grown increasingly disillusioned with, as evidenced from the following statement (released to coincide with the album).

“I remain grateful for the opportunities and patronage given to me, but it is evident that the natural tension in the relationship between art and business within the music industry is strained. I join an ever-expanding group of artists who are opting out of this model. I leave you Picture of Our Youth and hope that you choose to journey with me into my new projects and beyond.”

Dixon has yet to announce details of what those projects may be but his parting shot is well worth hearing.

Wrapped in bittersweet lyrics, it nevertheless retains an optimism and energy in its instrumentals that makes for a fascinating, sometimes rewarding listen.
On This Time, for instance, swirling electronic arrangements, slick beats and guitar riffs reverberate around lyrical observations on time and love to appealing effect (“we were thinking about this world we made together…”).

While on Hidden Ground a sombre piano opens proceedings, before drums and more electronic arrangements lift the air of foreboding. It’s a more resolute and confident lyrical offering about escape (“we’re never turning back to the place we’ve come from”), but one that plays around with the tempo to compelling effect.

Heartbeat maintains a nice mix of the intimate and the epic throughout, as if to underline Dixon’s appetite for mixing those tempos. Early on, the track sets Dixon’s reflective vocals against a ukulele early on, before suddenly dropping in an explosion of drums, and then stripping things back down again. It keeps the listener on their toes while commanding their attention to what Dixon has to say.

At several points, Dixon seems to be singing as much about his surrounding natural environment as he is his personal feelings but throughout he maintains a radio friendliness married to an intelligence that’s hard not to admire.

Indeed, it’s a shame that we won’t be hearing from more David’s Lyre, given their ability to mix pop elements with something more cinematic.

For in tracks like Piano Song, there’s a beautiful intimacy that stops you in your tracks to appreciate it, while on Only Words a lively percussion and some jangling guitar interludes contribute to another thoughtful song about overcoming insecurity.

Not everything works, of course, but Picture of Our Youth is a strong offering that really did deserve the potential for a follow-up LP.

Download picks: This Time, Hidden Ground, Heartbeat, Piano Song, Only Words

Track listing:

  1. English Roses
  2. This Time
  3. Hidden Ground
  4. Heartbeat
  5. The Fall
  6. These Trees
  7. Piano Song
  8. Picture Of
  9. Only Words
  10. This I Know?