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Davenport - Free Country CD (album) cover





3.00 | 2 ratings

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3 stars DAVENPORT aka THE DAVENPORT FAMILY seem to exist in their own enclave - well, just a 'Free Country', located somewhere in Wisconsin/USA. Since 2002 mastermind Clay Ruby is gathering different people to a musical collective and records way out songs which are best to describe as acid kraut/folk most likely. They initially offered some private CD-R and cassette productions in small runs of limited availability. Exhanced with some bonus tracks this first official band album, released on Last Visible Dog Records in 2005, is reported to be a reissue of an early CD-R.

You're invited to a trip featuring a wide range of instruments, but with the result of minimalistic ritually meandering songs. A blend of space, trance, folk and ethno which probably has its roots in 70's krautrock. Although coming from different ages, musically DAVENPORT can be compared to YA HO WHA 13 in some way, a hippie commune which had a spiritual leader ... or guru if you will. Mostly such collectives offer a sound which is deeply inspired by indo/raga and eastern religions - but that's not the case here apparently, this influence is (nearly) missing.

And so let's start with the exception, they use sitar drones here and there, which is not really bothersome though. Backed by this the opener Joy! By numerals act is faded in, music adapted in order to wake you up in the morning with care. Birds twitter ... sunbeams crawl through the window ... some time later the muezzin starts to pray respectively sing ... bells, glockenspiel, flute, accentuated bass and guitar - they serve a wonderful relaxed atmosphere which finally converts to indian native chanting. Country western ambience (acoustic guitar and violin) is following coupled with a somewhat mysterious unemotional singing. What gave them that idea?

Some noise and percussion stuff serves a druggy mood on The Light Ahead, The Dead Fields Behind - the extraterrestrial vocals however are the real attraction. The attribut cosmic can be really assigned to the title track for the first time - so that means the spacey electric guitars, the repetitive violin chords, the gliding trance flow all in all. Not all the songs appeal to me, for example I've problems with The Fool's Organ which seems to be recorded with a drum machine ... and the organ sounds so kitschy (foolish?) in some way. But probably it only takes more time before it clicks, eh? The plain folky Talking on the rails is another candidate for a filler.

With an intriguing spacey behaviour Psychedelic Underground brings them back to the top then, to highlight the fantastic guitar input first of all. So this comes to the conclusion that you can enjoy atmosphere here mainly, in opposite to endless uninspired noodling ... okay, as far as you are courageous enough to get involved with DAVENPORT's attitude. As for the weird experimental approach 'Sunburned Hand Of The Man' come into my mind additionally - 3.5 stars all in all.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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