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“DD Review: Part Time – Spell #6.”

Score: 8.5/10

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It turns out I’m late after all getting into this crooning casa nova David Loca and his band Part Time: this is his sixth album under this title apparently, in addition to many others with other bands. Bandcamp listed him as “greater London” but then the album blurb itself seems to attach him to LA… maybe he’s pulling a Morrissey here?

Actually he sounds a lot like Morrissey, as well as The Cure’s Robert Smith and album opener “Before You Fall apart” almost exactly aping the line from “Just Like Heaven” of “I promise you a promise that I’ll run away with you”, this time materializing in the form of “I promise that you’ll never be alone”. And really, it’s amazing how refreshing a Cure ripoff can come across as in 2018 with this complete saturation of the lo-fi, twee pop market. “Before You Fall apart” sets the album rolling in style with a beautifully stroked electric rhythm guitar and some warm synth tones, placed together with nice chordal sophistication.

And just as it’s not an identity crisis if you can sell it as an artistically fertile state of mind, the hopeless romantic aspects of “Before You Fall apart” certainly make for good, magnetic listening and the majority of this album in general has a certain dramatic sense of urgency that shines as apolitical and full of a satiating creativity. He gets help from Ariel Pink on “I Can Treat You Better,” which seems just suspended in this vestibule of undeniable melodic richness, flanked beautifully by a saxophone solo and some gorgeously plucked upper-register guitar harmonics. The song mourns, in addition to rejoicing, and Pink’s world-weary vocals late in the song of “I can treat you better” have a nice way of seeming just like music for music’s own sake, not as something forced or semantic. Indeed, the most semantic this guy gets is probably deciding whether to eat Wheaties or Frosted Flakes in the morning.

“Shattered Love” is classic ’80s schmaltz drawing from Huey Lewis territory (again, very un-’90s, much needed at this point), the proceedings futurized excitingly by some hand claps and other IDM-type percussion. And da**ed if these guys are afraid to let a sax come in and get all sweaty and swanky all over their album, like a shameless coming-out party of a long-quelled musical voice. What’s fun about “Shattered Love” too, though, along with how it sounds in no way “shattered,” almost rather mocking the very concept of the heartbroken condition, is this funky guitar that comes in and trades off the spotlight with the sax. These guys are getting close to each other on this album and you know what, you will reap all the benefits in a really new and vital kind of way.

“So Far away” called to mind the Dire Straits song right away and I’m not sure if I can do the Cyndi Lauper guitar and the Bon Jovi drums on there, but by the ensuing titled track we’re back to that Real Estate-sounding rhythmic guitar (definitely a good thing) and Loca is back on the mic with this vocal that seems impossibly cloaked in feeling, as if laced with everything else he’s expressing is the relentless phenomenological love he feels for singing and playing music.

 

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