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When you think of John Davis‘ post-Q and Not U aesthetic, you think sweet and sunshiny. The newest Title Tracks album, In Blank, still draws on Davis’ love of power-pop, but it colors it in a darker shade. For the most part, songs are quick, downcast, and grimy (thanks to a lovely mono mix)—-and, finally, a fit for Davis’ angsty themes. In his review in tomorrow’s City Paper, Ben Westhoff writes:
it’s inhabited by paranoid, discontented souls, stuck in their own heads and in malignant relationships. “Time is the sound of a torn page/Everything goes away/You may have a handle on your quiet rage/ But everything goes away,” begins opener “Shaking Hands,” and things get bleaker from there. Davis’ characters fight personal demons and admit to dangerous co-dependencies; “Mine is the kind of knife/That won’t cut you free,” he sings on “Light Sleepers.” Hardly a track passes without dark moments, with the possible exception of “I Can’t Hide,” a cover of a romantic Flamin’ Groovies’ song originally called “Second Cousin.” (Make what you will of that.)
Of course, it’s not all tortured. Here’s one of the peppier tracks, “All Tricks.”[audio:http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/files/2011/04/07-All-Tricks.mp3]
Title Tracks plays tonight with Foul Swoops at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat. $10.