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Tales Of Silversleeve
Tales Of Silversleeve is pop music that it’s OK for indie fans to revel in, taking the listener on a musical journey that’s as inventive and idiosyncratic as it is infectious.
John Walshe, 31 Oct 2007
Some so-called serious music lovers look down their noses at pop as a lesser art form than indie, rock or other supposedly more ‘important’ genres that usually involve lots of po-faced scrutiny and chin-scratching. At its best, however, pop can be a wonderfully uplifting, life-affirming, toe-tapping, smile-inducing affair. Tales Of Silversleeve is all this and more.
This listener always felt that Cathy Davey never quite lived up to her potential on her 2004 debut Something Ilk, but she has more than made up for it on the follow-up. The bar is set high from the off: ‘Sing For Your Supper’ careers from the traps with an infectious riff, Davey’s beguilingly impish voice, and a rhythm that threatens to spin out of control, but just about maintains its sanity, gathering you into its gallop without so much as a by-your-leave.
Lead single ‘Reuben’ is next, all hand-claps and happy smiles, while our heroine is “howling in the half-light”: it also comes complete with the coolest backing vocals you’re likely to hear all year. Deliciously catchy and radio-friendly, yet quirky enough to keep it all interesting, this is pop music as it should be.
After a start like that, it would be easy (and perhaps expected) for the quality ratio to drop, but far from it. ‘The Collector’ swings in with staccato slippers, ‘Moving’ treads a mighty fine line between the club and the bedsit (surely a big remix is in the offing), ‘No Heart Today’ is all head-swinging honky-tonk piano, while ‘Mr Kill’ is arguably the pick of the bunch, slinky and sexy in all the right places.
When she slows the pace down, the results are equally impressive. The ironically titled ‘Overblown Love Song’ sees yearning taken to new heights/depths, and ‘Harmony’ wouldn’t be out of place in a Berlin cabaret club. The grandiose ‘Rubbish Ocean’ has that classic Saturday-night-at-the-movies cinematic feel, while the closing ‘All Of You’ takes the less-is-more route, stripping back the production to simple guitar and vocals, with devastating effect.