BART AND THE BEDAZZLED-BLUE MOTEL.
Bart and The Bedazzled-Blue Motel.
Label: Lovemonk Records.
Four years after singer-songwriter released his sixth solo album Physical World in 2014, the talented Californian troubadour makes a welcome return with a new album Blue Motel, which was recorded by Bart and The Bedazzled and has just been released on Madrid based Lovemonk Records. Blue Motel is a carefully crafted cinematic album where Bart and The Bedazzled fuse West Coast yacht rock, power pop and eighties UK indie pop. It’s a welcome addition to Bart Davenport’s burgeoning back-catalogue.
Bart Davenport grew up in Oakland, California, which was where his musical career began in the nineties, when he made his first tentative steps onto the local music scene. Before long, he was a familiar face on the local blues and garage scene, with his first band The Loved Ones. They honed their own unique, raucous style of R&B which found favour with audiences, and resulted in The Loved Ones releasing two albums, 1993s The Price Of Love and 1994s Better Do Right, and opening for blues men John Lee Hooker and Junior Wells. By then, it looked as if The Loved Ones was a band with a big future ahead of them. However, by 1997, Bart Davenport had moved on to pastures new and was fronting a new band.
This was The Kinetics, who released their eponymous debut EP in 1997, and market the start of a new chapter in Bart Davenport’s career. Although he enjoyed being part of a band, by 2002 Bart Davenport had decided to embark upon a solo career.
Later in 2002, Bart Davenport released his eponymous debut album which was carefully crafted and multilayered album of irresistible indie pop. Soon, Bart Davenport was back in the studio and returned in 2003 with another album of indie pop, Game Preserve which showcased a talented singer-songwriter.
When Bart Davenport returned in 2005 with his much-anticipated third album, Maroon Cocoon it was very different from his two previous albums. This time around, Maroon Cocoon had a lo-fi sound which showed another side to Bart Davenport. So did his next project.
This was Bart Davenport’s side project Honeycut who released their genre-melting debut album The Day I Turned To Glass in 2006. It featured elements of electronica, hip hop, pop and indie pop. One of the highlights of The Day I Turned To Glass was Exodus Honey which Apple used as part of an adverting campaign and on the installation disc for Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard. Suddenly, a huge worldwide audience was discovering Bart Davenport’s music.
Bart Davenport returned in 2008 with his fourth solo album, Palaces, which was released to widespread critical acclaim and was another eclectic album that featured a variety of influences including folk rock, pop and rock. It seemed that Bart Davenport was constantly reinventing his music ever since he had embarked upon a solo career.
Between the autumn on 2010 and spring of 2011, was the most busiest periods of Bart Davenport’s career. Although much of the time was touring Europe, Bart Davenport found time to release two albums. The first was The Incarnations’ debut album With All Due Respect which was released in November 2011. Four months later, Bart Davenport released his fifth solo album.
This was the covers album Searching For Bart Davenport which was released in February 201. It featured twelve cover versions including songs Bert Jansch, Bridget St John David Byrne, Gil Scott-Heron, Jackson C. Frank, Love and The Incredible String Band. Searching For Bart Davenport which was an enchanting album found favour with critics and introduced the Californian troubadour to a new audience.
Meanwhile, Bart Davenport was working on Honeycut’s long-awaited and much-anticipated sophomore album Comedians which was released in 2012. This was Honeycut’s first album since 2006s critically acclaimed The Day I Turned To Glass. However, Comedians was quite different to its predecessor, and was rocky, funky and soulful and marked a return to form from the San Francisco based trio.
Later in 2012, Bart Davenport released his single Someone2Dance in , which was produced by Sam Flax and featured synths that gave the single an eighties new wave sound. However, after the release of Someone2Dance, Bart Davenport headed to Los Angeles, where a new chapter in his career began.
In Los Angles, Bart Davenport started putting together a new band, who would record his sixth solo album Physical World, which was the first album he released on Lovemonk Records in March 2014. It was an album that somehow, succeeded in sounding slick and sophisticated, but also slightly low-rent in places. Physical World was released to critical acclaim, and was hailed as one of Bart Davenport’s finest albums.
Now just over four years later, and Bart Davenport returns with his latest and seventh album Blue Motel, which was recorded by Bart and The Bedazzled, and was produced by Aaron M. Olson. Blue Motel features eleven new songs from the pen of singer-songwriter Bart Davenport who draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources and musical genres.
Blue Motel is the musical equivalent of time travel, as Bart Davenport draws inspiration from the music of the past fifty years on his much-anticipated seventh solo album. This includes seventies West Coast yacht rock, classic sixties power pop, eighties English indie pop and jangle pop. All this can be heard on Blue Motel, which is a truly irresistible, hook-laden and cinematic album that is rich imagery as Bart Davenport introduces the listener to his world.
Much of the music and the world that Bart Davenport has created on Blue Motel is firmly rooted in the past, and especially the sixties and eighties. Blue Motel is a nostalgic album, where he turns the clock back to what Bart Davenport seems to perceive as golden eras for music. Mainly, this is the sixties, seventies and eighties, and the influence of some of Bart Davenport’s favourite music from this period shines through on Blue Motel. Especially sixties power pop, seventies West Coast yacht rock, eighties UK indie pop and jangle pop.
Elsewhere on Blue World, which centres around Bart Davenport’s imaginary world, in LA as the lights go down, he looks to the future as he further explores this fantasy world. This shows that Bart Davenport isn’t wallowing in nostalgia throughout Blue World, during this captivating, genre-melting album where hooks certainly haven’t been spared as Bart Davenport takes the listener on a magical mystery tour on Blue World.
The album bursts into life with shimmering guitars and the rhythm section providing the backdrop to Bart Davenport’s vocal on the irresistible romantic LA noir of the title-track Blue Motel, which is reminiscent of UK indie pop groups Aztec Camera and Prefab in their prime. It’s a cinematic song that is full of imagery as Bart Davenport sings of life and the people in the Blue Hotel.
Equally cinematic is Halloween By The Sea, which is a rueful surf song where Bart Davenport paints pictures with his lyrics and delivers a hurt-filled vocal. Meanwhile The Bedazzled provide a slow, dramatic backdrop that is yin to Bart Davenport’s yang.
The tempo rises on What’s Your Secret (Cleo) whose roots can be traced to eighties indie pop. Slick, sophisticated, funky and full of poppy hooks, there’s a nod to Orange Juice before saxophone solo adds the finishing touch.
Bart and The Bedazzled drop the tempo on the carefully crafted, soul-baring ballad Life Under Water which features a vocal full of despair. Meanwhile, keyboard, strings, the rhythm section and later a sultry saxophone accompany Bart Davenport as he lays bare his soul on one of Blue Hotel’s highlights.
From the opening bars of The Amateurs, it’s obvious something special is unfolding, as chirping guitar, keyboards and the rhythm section set the scene for Bart Davenport’s tender, heartfelt vocal. Soon, he’s painting pictures with that unfold before the listener’s eyes. He’s accompanied by harmonies and later choppy, funky guitar licks during this slice of perfect pop that sounds as if its been inspired by Prefab Sprout.
A funky bass and chiming guitar combine with crisp drums on Your Sorrows as Bart Davenport delivers a vocal that is a mixture disappointment, despair and sadness. Behind him, The Bedazzled combine jangling guitars, eighties synths as the rhythm section lock into a tight groove. Sometimes, reverb is added to the vocal adding another eighties influence to this genre-melting song that is a fusion eighties synth pop, jangle pop and indie pop.
Surreal but tinged with humour describes The House That Built Itself, which is a memorable, melodic mid-tempo, dancefloor friendly indie pop song that is long on hooks.
Time travel is something that interests and has inspired Bart Davenport to write Time Machine For Two. Lo-fi synths and a jangling guitar set the scene for Bart Davenport’s deadpan vocal which seems to have been influenced by David Bowie and Morrissey. He delivers a hopeful against a backdrop of crisp snares, synths and chirping, jangling guitars on this sci-fi ballad.
A rasping, sultry saxophone opens Single Life while synths and keyboards combine with a shimmering guitar to create this beautiful cinematic instrumental.
Grownups bursts into life with the rhythm section providing the heartbeat as guitars jangle and glisten, and sets the scene for Bart Davenport’s vocal. Soon, he’s delivering what are some of his best lyrics on Blue Motel, which deal with loss of innocence and financial insecurity. Meanwhile, The Bedazzled’s rhythm section ensure the arrangement swings as the chiming, jangling guitars play their part in what’s one of the catchiest, hook-laden songs on Blue Motel.
The ballad Vampire closes Blue Motel and it features a slick, underrated arrangement and lyrics that are cinematic and rich in imagery. Just a guitar and bass combine before drums are added and accompany Bart Davenport who paints pictures with lyrics. Later, synths, keyboards and briefly harmonies are added to the carefully crafted arrangement while troubadour Bart Davenport delivers one of his finest vocals, and ensures Blue Motel ends on a high.
Fans of Bart Davenport have waited just over four years for the Californian troubadour to return with the followup to Physical World. Now the wait is over with the release Blue Motel, which has just been released by Lovemonk Records and features eleven new genre-melting songs from Bart and The Bedazzled.
These songs fine Bart and The Bedazzled drawing inspiration from sixties power pop, seventies West Coast yacht rock, eighties UK indie pop and even jangle pop, synth pop and eighties electronica. Each of these genres shine through on Blue Motel, which was produced by Aaron M. Olson, whose productions are sometimes understated, but are slick and carefully crafted. They’re the perfect accompaniment to Bart Davenport as he sings about day jobs, dating, financial insecurities, lost innocence and on several occasions time travel during Blue Hotel.
Blue Motel features cerebral, cinematic and carefully crafted hook-laden songs from Californian troubadour Bart Davenport, who makes a welcome return after four years away with his seventh solo album which marks the debut of Bart and The Bedazzled on what’s without doubt a career-defining opus and a snapshot of life in LA’s Blue Motel.
Bart and The Bedazzled-Blue Motel.