‘Newsprint Sky’ from Dave Thompson - the rocky edge of folk and as ‘gutsy’ as they come(January 22, 2014)
The anticipation of hearing an artist for the first time persists. Sadly the reality can fail the potential … then sometimes, well suffice to say that ‘Newsprint Sky’ from Belfast native, Dave Thompson delivers its promise. So what’s on offer? A collection of roots-based, Americana-tinged, poetically lyrical, folk rock delivered across a spot-on mix of guitar, trumpet, piano and violin.
These songs drive their point home through observant and expressive lyrics, and instantly absorbed melodies awash with striking hooks. There’s an insistent drive to the opener ‘My City’ setting out a statement for Dave's home town but perhaps not for the album. From the opener onward there’s a more of a stripped-back, rocky ballad feel to these songs of meaning and purpose. There’s the fervent caress of ‘By Any Means’ that overflows with a powerful presence, the tender, wretched reflections of ‘Dear Theo’ and the softly rocky ‘Starling’ - trumpet acents and longing guitar breaks abounding.
The tranquil compassion of ‘Wishes’ lays out its benediction through tender lyrics: “I do not wish you riches, I only wish you have enough, I do not wish you adulation, I only wish you love.” ... that’ll do it every single time. The introspection and personal absorption of ‘Campfires and Wild Places’ and the empathy within ‘Late Night Conversation’ remain objective and clear, not always easy with songs about personal connections.
The overall impression? There’s a few established singer-songwriters that wish they could turn out an album like this. Close to the rocky edge of folk and as ‘gutsy’ as they come, ‘Newsprint Sky’ has the potential to move you.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll