David Sinclair Four: “4” – paints lyrical pictures which are both ordinary and extremely extraordinary

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David Sinclair, who has shared stages with Wilko Johnson, the Oli Brown Band, Marcus Bonfanti, Johnny Dowd, Graham Bonnet, Willie Nile and many others, has released the critically-acclaimed albums Hey, Threewheeling and Take Me There. Now we have “4”, released on Critical Discs/IRL on May 11; featuring contributions from harmonica man Paul Jones, rock legend Maxi Priest, and Scottish jazz singer Lorna Reid.

Cover art by Chiara Meattelli & Dominic Lee
Cover art by Chiara Meattelli & Dominic Lee

The David Sinclair Four currently consists of David Sinclair (Vocals/Guitar/Songwriter), Geoff Peel (Lead Guitar/BVs), Jack Sinclair (Drums/BVs) and Jos Mendoza (Bass/BVs). Together they have delivered a 10-track album, steeped in what I would call ‘elegant’ blues.

“4” takes the swampy, dirty southern-fried blues-groove, slips it into the engine room, polishes up the edges and envelops it all in Brit-rock aplomb. It’s that same ‘elegance’ that allowed bands like Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and Dire Straits, to dominate and transform blues-based music into something sweeter, smoother and more harmonious and melodic for big city ears…without losing any of its soul!

“4” is exactly what we have come to expect of David Sinclair and clan; clean and sonically perfect arrangements with stellar musicianship, clever lyrics, and music that keeps sounding better with each listen. There are several gems that I am apt to skip to, the most of which being, “The Illness & The Cure”, which features what I believe to be Sinclair’s catchiest vocal harmony in any chorus, among the last two albums. “Life Gone Gold” is another tight little tune that features an irresistible guitar tone and solo by Geoff Peel. There’s also the reggae influenced “Down By The Canal”, featuring Maxi Priest.

David Sinclair - photo ©Marilyn Kingwill
David Sinclair – photo ©Marilyn Kingwill

And just in case you need to get a little swampy and closer to your roots, there’s “World Turns Around”, with harmonica-man Paul Jones and Geoff Peel on slide guitar to boot. But if there is one track that is worth the sum of the entire album, it has got to be “Coming off the Rails”. From its arrangement down to the instrumentation, performance and production, this track simply rocks: serving as a calling card for every individual musician playing on it, as well the David Sinclair Four as a collective project. It is powerful, assured and perfectly fits the framework of what the experience in this band stands for today.

The David Sinclair Four have absolutely done it again with a very mature sounding album, where David Sinclair has reproduced slices of life in his slightly-off-centered world, inhabited by losers, lovers, legends, has-beens and assorted purveyors of ecstatic sadness and resigned joy. Sinclair paints lyrical pictures which are both ordinary and extremely extraordinary, sounding really inspired throughout the whole album.

David Sinclair & Maxi Priest - ©Marilyn Kingwill
David Sinclair & Maxi Priest – ©Marilyn Kingwill

The David Sinclair Four together with producer Livingstone Brown, have crafted “4” into music giving us blues-rock based stories that are stylized, polished and well thought-out. Maybe it comes second nature to them, but it is remarkable musicianship, songwriting and production all the same, a quality all but absent from pop music today, with its emphasis on sampled, spoken, garbled, screamed and trivialized affectation.

Besides grabbing the album, don’t forget to go and see the band performing live all around England, Scotland and Wales during July-August. Check out the band’s website for dates and details. The David Sinclair Four are also dropping the single “Coming Out Of The Rain”, featuring singer and co-songwriter Lorna Reid, with the launch taking place in Edinburgh at The Voodoo Rooms on 29 July.

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