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Camren Von Davis - Bobby Barbados

Bobby Barbados

Camren Von Davis

Available from iTunes.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Bizarre, spare, abstract, whacked-out, and mutantly hypnotic in many places, Bobby Barbados is an extremely disjointed concept CD with a Twin Peaks edge (catch the ultra bizarre inside photo, a John Waters suburban snap from Zappa's 200 Motels, if that makes sense). Though the lead cut, Cactus Lizard is a tad too noodly, Clouds of Poison is a way righteous exercise in spare atmospherics and mood, damn near a piece of genius for what it is. I'm trusting the promo lit when it tells me there's a narrative thread running through the CD—a fantasy about microchip-implanted humans, women wrought from computers, crazed monks, and other mental jags—but no lyric sheet accompanies the disc, so it's damnably difficult making heads or tails. Ah, but that may very well be fully intended and part of the charm.

Mr. 2 is another highly unorthodox song, also stripped but intermittantly cafe-disco-pub night-scened, a post-electronica, post-Ibiza, post-acid-jazz wonder of wandering melody lines, infectious bass, and stray beats. Von Davis is a multi-instrumentalist, playing everything short of the roof tiles, but he brings in sessioneers to punch up his extremely eccentric wont with horns, drums, and so on. Ya can't help but groove and fingersnap to it. There's a very generous helping of the Kraut electronische mishmash throughout Barbados, the very old Kraftwerk-Cluster kind, as well as its modern ancestors (Stereolab, etc.), but the baffling base is…folk! Von Davis is a die-hard folkie who happened to plug in one day and never got away from the electrons. Once you click into that, it makes the whole thing much more understandable, with Humans standing as the Rosetta Stone.

Connoissieurs of really good obscurantia may remember Woo (It's Cosy Inside), A Small Good Thing (The Pink and Purple World of Dishonesty), Simon Steensland (IThe Phantom of the Theatre), or any of a number of practitioners of high weirdness, Residents included. Well, von Davis is a demented sibling to those cherished bizarroids. It may take a bit to sufficiently derange yourself for this CD, but the effort will be well-rewarded. Don't expect the neighbors to approve, and start practicing again the fin de siecle introspection you acquired after watching Blue Velvet.

Track List:

  • Cactus Lizard
  • Clouds of Poison
  • Plastic America
  • Mr. 2
  • Pickle Jar
  • Humans
  • The Way You Do Your Hair (Wallpaper Music)
  • It's for a Friend
  • Microchip
  • God Bless the Child
  • Politics
  • Steven's River
  • Feeling Good
All songs written by Camren von Davis.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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