DAVID WARD’S NEW­EST AL­BUM WORKS A SILKY SOUL GROOVE

Vancouver Sun - - YOU - STUART DERDEYN sderdeyn@post­media.com twit­ter.com/stu­art­derdeyn

David Ward is a singer/song­writer who has based him­self in Van­cou­ver, Lon­don and Ber­lin.

Vi­o­let, Gold + Rose is his third full-length re­lease and fol­lows on the suc­cess of his last al­bum, Tran­si­tion­ing. His mu­sic is in­flu­enced by clas­sic funk, as well as el­e­ments of the blue-eyed soul made pop­u­lar by bands such as Sim­ply Red. In other words, it’s pretty pris­tine.

Here are five things to know about his third al­bum, Vi­o­let, Gold + Rose:

1. The sin­gle-ular path:

Lead­ing up to the re­lease of the full-length al­bum, Ward dropped a sin­gle a month for 13 months un­til the re­lease. This is a method many mu­si­cians are mak­ing use of as they try to build buzz for ac­tual al­bums in this con­tem­po­rary sin­gles-driven mar­ket. It cer­tainly lends it­self well to so­cial-me­dia mar­ket­ing and en­ables po­ten­tial new fans to take in your art bit by bit.

2. Mega-pro­duc­tion

Vi­o­let, Gold + Rose is spec­tac­u­larly well-pro­duced. Per­haps that’s be­cause it was mixed and mas­tered by Grammy Award­win­ning Rus­sell El­e­vado. His track record in­cludes work­ing with D’An­gelo, Ali­cia Keys, The Roots and Erykah Badu. Any/all of these could be ref­er­ence points to Ward’s smooth neo-soul.

3. Neon Pal­isades

There are 33 mu­si­cians on the al­bum, in­clud­ing a full orches­tra and Ka­masi Wash­ing­ton vo­cal­ist Pa­trice Quinn. These are put to full use through­out the song cy­cle. But it’s the su­per­in­ter­est­ing de­scend­ing gui­tar lick that opens this track and the su­per-slinky groove it es­tab­lishes that makes this the first stand­out song. In­stantly fa­mil­iar, it’s not deriva­tive.

4. Je­sus Hol­ly­wood

Few things make me smile more than hear­ing artists who aren’t afraid to em­brace the big sym­phonic sounds of Philadel­phia soul and its al­most disco-like dance­abil­ity. Ward has a clubfloor jam­ming piece with this one, com­plete with un­ex­pected near-Pink Floyd-ish gui­tar jams two-thirds of the way through. That was a sur­prise. A pleas­ant one like the bass and brass vamp in Bang­ing on My Drum.

5. David Ward, Oct. 18, Guilt & Co You can hear a stripped-down ver­sion of Ward and his back­ing crew at Van­cou­ver’s home of soul, R&B and some very tasty cock­tails. He’s in Toronto (Oct. 21) and Mon­treal (Oct. 26) be­fore he likely heads back to Eng­land and Europe. Give a lis­ten to the ses­sions on YouTube.

ALSO SPIN­NING THIS WEEK: Aaron Parks Lit­tle Big: Aaron Parks Lit­tle Big (Ro­pead­ope Se­lects)

On the fol­lowup to his 2008 Blue Note Records al­bum In­vis­i­ble Cin­ema comes the new al­bum from key­boardist/com­poser/ band­leader Parks, and his lat­est unit is smok­ing. Right off from the open­ing track Kid, gui­tarist Greg Tuo­hey es­tab­lishes that he’ll be sear­ing his mark all over this al­bum, while the rhythm sec­tion of drum­mer Tommy Crane and elec­tric bassist David (DJ) Gin­yard Jr. prove able to slink by (The Trick­ster) or get busy (Dig­i­tal So­ci­ety) with equal ease. At 15 tracks, Parks has plenty of time to ex­plore his in­ter­ests and this in­cludes a big ro­man­tic streak with the slow bal­lad Man­dala be­ing a high­light. I haven’t heard a synth solo that sen­si­tive since Joe Zaw­inul in Weather Re­port.

High on Fire: Elec­tric Mes­siah (eOne)

It’s been three years since Lu­minif­er­ous be­came this Oak­land me­tal trio’s best-re­ceived al­bum of their ca­reer. Given the band’s power-thrash trio style, that lead gui­tarist Matt Pike named the al­bum in hon­our of the late Lemmy Kilmis­ter should come as no sur­prise. That said, High on Fire are more in­ven­tive than Mo­tor­head were, with songs such as Sanc­tioned An­ni­hi­la­tion boast­ing strong doom chord­ing or the rip­ping clas­sic Bay Area thrash of Free­booter. Play it loud.

Kristin Hersh: Pos­si­ble Dust Clouds (Fire Records)

That Hersh was a rip­ping gui­tarist in Throw­ing Muses and 50 Foot Wave might have been for­got­ten some­what given the acous­tic work and more cere­bral book and al­bum projects of the past decade. LAX will change that in 3:50. Her voice sound­ing like she gar­gled steel wool and the pro­duc­tion just rag­ing with dirty re­verb, the rocker es­tab­lishes the tone of Pos­si­ble Dust Clouds. Even when the acous­tic strums in on Half­way Home, it’s un­der­laid with vo­cal mul­ti­track­ing and noise that will have grunge-era fans smil­ing. Loud Mouth is a stand­out ex­am­ple of why the term “alt-rock” ac­tu­ally ever ex­isted.

Liv­ing With Lions: Is­land (Bloom Record­ings)

The third full-length al­bum from this Van­cou­ver punk-pop out­fit is full of all the kind of pump-the-air an­thems and melodic hooks you would ex­pect from the genre. The band has been through it in the many years it took to make the record. Lead singer Stu Ross left in 2012, found­ing mem­ber Chase Bren­ne­man took over vo­cals and Craig Spel­liscy joined as the new gui­tarist. Then the drum­mer needed back surgery, Bren­ne­man tore his ab­dom­i­nal wall howl­ing and — yeah — if songs like the lead sin­gle Tidal Wave sound a bit more angst-rid­den than past ma­te­rial, there is a rea­son.

Nov. 24, Venue Night­club (with ■ the Flat­lin­ers)

Van­cou­ver singer David Ward’s Vi­o­let, Gold + Rose fol­lows on the suc­cess of his last al­bum, Tran­si­tion­ing.

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