Richard Davis: Details
Kitty Yo

Some listeners may know Richard Davis from his 2002 sophomore album Safety or his guest appearance on the 2004 Swayzak outing Loops From the Bergerie; those who don't are in for a treat, given Details' superb fusion of vocal-based song structures and minimal house. If anything, the mixture sounds so satisfying and natural, one wonders why it's not more common. Regardless, Davis's unaffected vocals are delivered in a style that's subtly soulful and relaxed in perfect keeping with the music's lush vibe. In perhaps the album's best moment, the gorgeous opener “Honest With You,” Davis's suave croon offsets the song's darker piano ruminations with a beautiful and buoyant melody (“All through this / I will always be honest with you”). “The Truth” then introduces one of the album's distinguishing features, a strings dimension courtesy of Anna Stark's multi-layered cello which aligns itself comfortably to the song's propulsive groove and chopped voice fragments; Stark's sinuous cello also deepens the strong melancholy dimension of “Empty” and joins Michael Lapuks' dobro in enhancing “Others.”

Though most other songs never rise to the melodic finesse of “Honest With You,” they're fine, just a little less spectacular. “Hear This” turns particularly lovely when Davis weaves his lower baritone into the song's infectiously swaying house rhythms and mournful strings; the addition of bleeding electro-synths even brings New Wave flavour to the song, and a similar ‘80s spirit infuses the vocal attack on the electro-stomper “Common Sense.” The collection comes to a chugging close with the rather overdramatic “Bring Me Closer.” With the average song weighing in at almost seven minutes, though, the 73-minute Details not surprisingly ends up feeling excessively long; had Davis shaved a few minutes here and there or reduced the album to perhaps nine songs, Details would be a more satisfying listen. But that's the sole weakness of note on this otherwise distinctive collection of vibrant vocal-based minimal house.

July 2005