“Fame, what fame?/I never wanted it, I never needed it,” Bart Davenport sings on “Fuck Fame,” perfectly describing the attitude of his upcoming album Physical World.
He croons with coolness about how he prefers to be an unknown rather than some superstar. Power-pop, soft rock, and a touch of synth merge into an album that sounds simple, mellow, and unpretentious.
Physical World is a fantastic album to listen to while getting high (or, for that matter, drunk). The guitar-driven, softly-inflected melodies; steady rhythms; and eclectic, sparse electronics bring a laid-back vibe that complements Davenport’s reaction to the modern world.
He’s not preaching or shouting to his listeners, though the subject matter is often dark. Instead, he uses his dry sense of humor with a light, nonchalant tone that evokes Sufjan Stevens.
In “Dust In The Circuits,” Davenport sings about the cons of living in a big city and finding the “right” person, only to be left bitterly disappointed. He cynically reminds listeners, ”Just when you found what you were dreaming of, there will be dust in the circuits, dust in the circuits of love.”
The track is a conventional pop-rock ballad with a thin texture and colorful guitar notes that sync well with Davenport’s calm, matter-of-fact tone.
“Dust in the Circuits” sounds intimate, a buddy-to-buddy song that listeners can relate to. Davenport sounds more like a friend, warning you: “Hey man, be careful, that person is not what he or she really is.”
On “Loop In My Head,” a song about lifting oneself from depression, Davenport disturbingly repeats, “I have had enough,” then adds wryly, ”feeling fucked up, deranged.” The catchy tune with a steady back beat, strong guitar chords, and jangly notes juxtaposes with Davenport’s impatience with feeling like shit.
As the song progresses, he sounds more urgent, encouraging himself with, “Any reasonable person will get out of this maze.” Finally, he lets his guard down when desperately bellows, “I have had enough.” He sounds stiffer on “Loop In My Head,” tense but hopeful. Davenport is vulnerable to the bleak circumstances around him, yet he confronts them head-on.
While “Dust In The Circuits” and “Loop In My Head” deal with dark themes like depression and isolation (injected with a bit of humor), “Physical World” is more whimsical, and leaves you wondering whether Davenport was on shrooms.
“Physical World” is not an earth-shattering, poppy shtick. However, it does have a trippy vibe to it. Davenport sounds spaced out while he bellows, “We rely on the physical world for love/I give in to the gravity of this time,” and other nonsensical lyrics full of metaphysical allegories. He sounds relaxed and playful, spontaneously telling the band, “Oh, take it away” midway through the track.
Physical World works because Davenport keeps his listeners engaged with a dry sense of humor and the accompaniment of an exceptional band. Davenport knows what it’s like to be hopeless or lost and turn that around, making Physical World the perfect antidote to a shitty day.
Bart Davenport – Physical World tracklist:
- “Wearing The Changes”
- “Fuck Fame”
- “Dust In The Circuits”
- “On Your Own Planet”
- “Girl Gotta Way”
- “Physical World”
- “Every Little Step”
- “Loop In My Head”