mon 15/07/2024

CD: Dent May - Across the Multiverse | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dent May - Across the Multiverse

CD: Dent May - Across the Multiverse

Directness trumps the calculating on US singer-songwriter’s fourth album

Dent May 's 'Across the Multiverse': written and recorded in his bedroom

As the title and Seventies-style cover image indicate, Across the Multiverse is knowing. Though the “Across the Universe” reference nods to The Beatles, it is the spirit of the Alessi Brothers, Hall & Oates, Harry Nilsson, Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson which are nearest. But whatever Dent May’s smarts, his fourth album is shot through with instantly memorable melodies.

While his previous trio of albums were recorded in his native Mississippi, Across the Multiverse was completed in Los Angeles, now his home. More specifically, the entire album was written and recorded in the bedroom of his bungalow. While not sounding like the one-man band that he is, May does have a very particular outcome in mind: to unite Californian singer-songwriter pop with gently funky yacht rock.

Despite the strategies in play, it is possible to take an aural bath in Across the Multiverse without becoming too distracted by its building blocks. Sure, “90210” lays on the love of Van Dyke Parks and “Dream 4 Me” sports McCartney-indebted banana-fingers piano but this rich stew is characterised by the sense nothing is mediated: the creamy-voiced singer is showcasing the songs as they arrived in his head.

The lack of a filter presents a problem as "Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love” has a silly, smutty title which doesn’t warrant repetition, but when the phrase is sung as a chorus line to a sparkling melody the words take a back seat. “I’m Gonna Live Forever Until I’m Dead”, the album’s snarkily titled highlight, fuses the funky (think Elton John’s “Honky Cat” backbeat), vocoder and smooth strings into a glistening whole which could be a cover of a previously uncelebrated Todd Rundgren album track. Anyone in thrall to Jens Lekman, Kings of Convenience spin-off The Whitest Boy Alive and The High Llamas will want this.

It is possible to take an aural bath in 'Across the Multiverse' without becoming too distracted by its building blocks


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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