This is a review of "Threadbear" recorded by Lewis Denby. The review was written by Maria Pinto-Fernandes in 2007.
Not to dwell on the past, but my anticipation for this double single from Lewis Denby was so much after his critically-acclaimed ‘Lookout Posts and Telescopes’ EP which I had been lucky enough to cast my critical ears over last summer. I was bowled over by that release, but frustrated by the fact that although Denby clearly possessed talent there was a noted lack of experimentation and slavish loyalty to the same format for each track.
This is why it is an absolute imperative to own a copy of this release for yourself, as it sees Lewis Denby still being Lewis Denby, albeit with a more mature and focused edge.
On ‘Threadbear’ the singer-song writer lures us in with his gravelly voice bearing the wear of real life. Denby’s still largely acoustic, but here he taps into several genres which only add to the surrealism of his music’s soulful beauty. The track begins with a folk-style introduction and vocals which wouldn’t sit uncomfortably on a soul track, before hip-hop-esque strings settle into the background with a slick bass accompaniment. Perhaps the acoustic troubadour took my criticism on board. Never one to take it too far in showing that he can be cross-generic; Denby soon reverts to his successful folk formula, but after such a showcase of several different genres, that’s allowed. The genre fusion continues, providing a platform for Denby’s deep vocals and squelchy experimentalism thrown in for good measure.
‘Vous’ further demonstrates Denby’s love of the stylish bass line, to ambiguous effect as although it does the impossible and makes Lewis Denby danceable, the vocals are near inaudible. One cannot find fault though in the illustrated genre of, dare I say it, dance music as the bass is tempered with a dark undertone. Dance-esque piano and distorted vocals tell of the monotonous repetitious drip-fed message “Have a lovely day” we use to mask life’s ugliness. Just when I thought that the singer-song writer couldn’t be any more diverse, prog-rock enters the mix to provide an interesting catharsis unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.
Allow Lewis Denby to astound you.