L.A. Davis Everything Changed
Though the days of smoked filled cocktail bars have been ushered out at insistence of modernity, L.A Davis is a welcome and promising vocalist in the tradition of smoky vocalists like Justin Timberlake, James Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Michael Bublé. It’s easy to picture this London East Ender one a six-inch riser stage in a crowded club; small, but with a lively dance floor.
Whereas modern cocktail-bar singers cut their words into clipped syllables, L.A Davis relishes and leans into his hazy vocals. At times, throwing his whole self into the music is the only choice Davis has in order to contend with the operatic stylings of his backup vocals and full-bodied sound. No toes are stepped on, and the coordination between saxophones, acoustic guitars, piano, and synth beats is a narrowly avoided disaster. Most beautiful orchestrations are a mere beat away from catastrophe, and though L.A Davis dances that razor’s edge, the band comes out on top with a flourish.
Despite the traditional strings, classic brass and lilting piano, there are modern influences on Davis’s debut album “Everything’s Changed”. Much like the fusion of electronic music and swing that created ‘electro swing,’ this album uses musical influences of all sorts to create a complicated palette. Soaring operatic vocals accompany soft twinkling piano in “Lessons I’ve Learned”. In “Ammunition,” underground dance elements rise and fall behind well-crafted lyrics. The rhythm of “Ammunition” in particular displays a strong grasp of lyrical interplay between word choice and auditory symmetry.
It’s obvious from L.A Davis’s bio that vocals are a priority, and it’s even more apparent from the heartfelt sound. This album never compromises on the instrumental elements or melodies. In fact, due to such an attention to lyricism, the cadence of the lyrics creates rhythm. Voice and sound become one, as is most apparent in the spot-on verbal illustrations in “Blood Out Of A Stone”.
L.A Davis has been awarded for his stage presence, Davis himself having gotten his start after being spotted doing karaoke and working in musical theater. The band received the award ‘Live and Unsigned – Best Unsigned Pop Act in the UK’ in 2010. Deep-chested vocals paired with a plethora of instruments allow the band to play around on stage and create variation in their live performances, as one can see on the band’s Facebook page.
It would be wrong to conclude any review of L.A Davis without mentioning the waves one rides in sampling “Everything’s Changed” in its entirety. High-energy dance songs counter-balance the slower ballads, a biographical reflection of L.A Davis’s origins in the commotion and struggle of a disadvantaged rise to the stage. “Everything’s Changed” rides like a night of drinking gin on the dance floor, with smoke-filled cigarette breaks in the foggy back alleys of the London bar scene.