Let's just get this out of the way now: J*Davey's the truth. The group—which consists of singer Jack Davey and producer Brook D'Leau—defies genres. The most that I can say is that there's singing backed by production, and that's definitely selling them way short. Davey, a St. Louis-to-Los Angeles transplant, is heavily influenced by classic jazz and jazz fusion growing up, and was signed to an MCA Records deal at a very young age. She was influenced to the LA-born-and-bred D'Leau in high school, and they soon embarked upon an extremely funky journey that will lead them to their official debut sometime this fall.
In order to tide folks over—as well as to win believers to the flock—they have released "The Beauty in Distortion" as part of a two-for-one package which also includes their "Land of the Lost" EP. (Don't worry—that review's coming next week).
"Beauty in Distortion" is fantastic. Even though it was called a demo in the promo material that I received with the CD, it certainly requires repeat listening. It kicks off with "Divisions of Joy," where Davey takes time to holla at a dude from across the room over a hi-tempo, space-funk rhythm, which leads into "Mr. Mister," which is backed by a guitar and nod-inducing drumbeat where, again, Ms. Davey is tryin' to pull her a man.
However, there is a diversity in the group's music: From the Prince-inspired freakfest "Private Parts" to the subdued "Cowboys & Indians," J*Davey manage to vary their styles while still being able to establish a distinct sound.
Peep "Camera (Gangster)," where Davey sings from the P.O.V. of a thug over D'Leau's synth-heavy thump:
"I'll be a gangster
Do you see the gun that I tote, and all the weed that I smoke
Do I scare ya?
And I'm a thug from the ghetto, so dirty and low down
If you ain't know, I got that good shit
You want a hit?
I'd be that thug-ass bitch
I'd carry a razor blade, and I'd stay paid
Wishin' nobody outted me"
On the production end, D'Leau comes through with some ill space funk that could only be rivaled by Madlib—and this cat does it all without samples. The instrumentation is on point, and the beats are injected with heavy synths and drum patterns that wrap around the head of the listener the whole time.
All in all, this half of the double-CD set is worth the price of admission alone, and we haven't even gotten into the other EP yet. But J*Davey is definitely a group to watch on the music scene in '08, and for some time to come, as well.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10
Originally posted: July 1, 2008