As we approach Christmas, a traditionally family and love orientated holiday, a time of the year when we can get caught up worrying about what we might give to others, what could be better than to take a break from the sleigh bells and mistletoe to listen to an EP that is so beautifully crafted and vocalised, so emotionally invested that it really is the perfect gift to yourself. It’s a record that says:
“if it’s real, I’ll just wait for it, if its real, this could be our story. Everything we want will come true”
David D’Alessio has an interesting relationship with his art and he very much thinks of music as his muse, as a long term affair that he is still learning to understand and love. Like every relationship, it evolves, grows and shapes us. We change within the throes of something that heightens every emotion, every feeling. For David, music is just that. He says:
“music and I are in a long term relationship that I’m never gonna get out of and sometimes music abuses me and sometimes I abuse it. But we keep talking, working through it, learning to communicate. We have hard lines with each other like no violence, no lying, no cheating. But beyond that, I keep growing, discovering, expanding, listening to everything, even the stuff I don’t want to initially. I keep developing my sound because I keep listening, feeling and being open”
With this unashamed and unapologetic look at relationships in general and his marriage in particular, David has created something stunning. It’s his first release since the acoustic 2014 album ‘Some Girls’ which was released to critical acclaim and garnered comparisons like “the Jason Mraz of the southwest” and “the plaintive heights of Damien Rice”, but to confuse the crisp perfect vocals and the masterfully modern pop, folk, soul influenced production of this EP with other artists would be to make a grave mistake. The obvious care an attention given to every turn of the songs on this EP, including a haunting reworking of ‘Some Girls’ song ‘Throw Yourself in Front of It’, very much installs the enigmatic artist in a class of his own.
My personal favourite, and I think everyone will be drawn to one of these songs in particular for different reasons and probably at different times of their lives, is the quite stunningly intimate ‘Crazy Love’, a melancholic ode to leaving behind the madness of a relationship fuelled by superficiality and sex on the surface, but underneath a lament to saying goodbye and how moving on from something that has become comfortable is so difficult to end. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know something is dying but you don’t want to be the one to close the door.
Other songs on the EP find David ‘s infectious lyrics and melody in full swing and it’s a deliciously eclectic, genre defying collection that will become a permanent fixture on your playlist well before you’ve reached the end. It’s an EP that continues to cement the artist’s reputation as a multi-talented singer songwriter and certainly one I can’t wait to hear more from. It’s certainly a while since the debut album ‘Songs to Undress Your Ego’ back in 2007, but extensive touring and a continued and ongoing musical development just seems to improve the output of an artist that describes this new release as a “left turn” from his usual fare as he releases himself from being constrained by conformality and pre conceived ideas of genre or sonic commitment to step slightly away from his acoustic guitar and into something that feels fresh and new and yet firmly seated in the outstanding singer songwriter space he has always inhabited. This EP, that David says lets him “experiment and try on different coats” will not lose him any of his existing fans and audience but it will definitely add to that number because it never fails to deliver in quality, honesty and real emotion and those cornerstones of real musical storytelling are what David D’Alessio has always clung to.
Born in Hawaii, but raised in Arizona, the artist recorded this seven song EP during the pandemic after getting the idea for its title from a sign he saw whilst walking in Central Park that said “Keep This Far Apart”. The last three words of the sign made him start to think, they made him start to examine how we relate to the people in our lives, how those three words could be the mantra for how he feels about relationship’s and so he wrote what could be a love letter to his wife but could also be a love letter to every relationship and how they have shaped us. He says:
“even in the greatest of them, no matter how close you are to each other, there’s always this sort of longing between you, some mystery- like you know the person so well but don’t really know everything. You can support your significant other, but are not always each other’s only means of support”.
The music contained in David’s new release examines all aspects of relationships and moves effortlessly cross genre but always showcases the artist’s wonderful vocals and intimate lyrics. If you decide to buy yourself a gift this Christmas, why not make it this excellent EP, after all the relationship we all need to take care of is the one with ourselves.