Arthur Davenport,
Reality Bends
(Dee Dubelyew, 2002)

Reality Bends is, with the exception of one song, a solo creation by Arthur Davenport; he has written and composed everything else on the CD, singing and accompanying himself on guitar or ukelele. Loathe it or love it, you are impelled to listen to his words. His is a truly individualistic style, in that it defies any one categorisation -- some tracks are traditional folk, others breathy and quirky, sometimes speaking, others singing -- and the subject matter of his songs is equally diverse. One or two could be thought of almost as nursery rhymes for the young-at-heart, others display very original thought processes and an adult sophistication.

Covering love, relationships, nature and travel, there is surely an offering on Reality Bends for everyone. His folk sound is often reminiscent of Cat Stevens, particularly notable on "Rain." The title track retains '60s hippyness blended with a new age feel -- he has it described as a hymn on his website!

Davenport's vocals alter subtly with most of his songs, seemingly seeking to emphasise the subject matter, but his accent remains a curiosity. His accompaniment is minimalistic, fingerstyle, allowing the lyrics -- or poems, if you prefer that definition -- to be heard clearly throughout each song. I've listened to Reality Bends many times over several weeks, and to be honest, I still can't decide whether I actually like it! I think it very much depends on the mood one is in when listening to the album; sometimes I find it quite irritating, the songs sink in to my mind and I can't shake the simple and often repetitve little ditties he uses in some of them; other times it is quite soothing!

If you are looking for something off the beaten track, look out for Arthur Davenport. Try and get a feel for his style -- but if you initially don't like it, try again another day! You may surprise yourself by completely changing your mind.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 27 September 2003

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