Thursday, 16 February 2017

Album Review: Bury Me In Philly by Dave (by Emma Prew)

You may know Dave Hause as an original member of the melodic hardcore band Paint It Black or as one quarter of punk rock super group The Falcon. You probably also know him as vocalist and guitarist in The not-officailly-broken-up Loved Ones but I, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, listened to his solo material first before any of the bands I’ve just mentioned. For that reason, although I’ve listened to his previous bands and The Loved Ones more so than any other, it is his solo albums that have always connected with me the most. His last album, Devour, was released way back in 2013 and I honestly wasn’t 100% sure that he’d be making any more music as a solo artist but I’m sure glad that he has.

Bury Me In Philly is the title of Dave Hause’s third album, released earlier this month on Rise Records. I had been eagerly awaiting it for months, years even, and I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

The album kicks off with a punchy and upbeat track, With You. The song opens immediately with vocals as Dave sings I couldn't stop the ringing in my head…’. The music is Americana-influenced with a clear piano melody as well as warm slightly fuzzy guitars but there’s also a hint of Dave’s previous bands in the pacing of the track. The chorus is a highlight for me – ‘Oh, ache with me and I'll ache with you, I want to do it with you, Oh, dance with me we'll all be dead soon, I want to do it with you, Yeah, I want to do it with you.’ So good!

The Flinch is next up on Bury Me In Philly and begins with some more great guitar work – in fact there’s some great Americana guitar sounds on the whole album! This is a slower song than the first track on the album but I think that just helps to emphasise the melody. The Flinch is about how when you’re younger you can sometimes find yourself in certain situations that make you react with fear or anxiety – or flinch – but it’s possible to get over the fear when you get older and perhaps learn from your mistakes.

The opening guitar riff of My Mistake instantly brought to mind Bruce Springsteen for me (although I have just finished his book, Born To Run, so he’s been on my mind anyway!) – which is never a bad thing. The upbeat nature of With You is back for this song and it’s songs like this where I think Dave Hause really shines. The chorus is also super catchy – ‘It was my mistake, I was asleep but now I’m wide awake, wide awake…’. It had me nodding my head and tapping my feet from my first listen and, after a few listens of the whole album, I think this is my favourite track on Bury Me In Philly. 

We’re going to see Dave Hause at the Garage in London next month where he is billed as ‘Dave Hause and The Mermaid’ and The Mermaid is the name of the fourth song on the album. It does have me wondering which came first, the name for his band or this song – I’m betting the song. The Mermaid is a little bit of a change of tone and musical style with more of a soulful and bluesy sound. The chorus of ‘Ain’t gonna treat you like you (x3), Treat yourself. Ain’t gonna treat you like you (x3).’ sounds like it is sung by someone else, minus the ‘Treat yourself’ part so I’d be interested to hear it live.

Shaky Jesus is the next song on Bury Me In Philly. I’m not sure of Dave Hause’s religious views and so I’m not sure how literally to interpret the lyrics, but I’ll do my best. I think this is a song about being brought up as a Christian but doubting your allegiance to the religion as time goes on and instead finding love in the form of a person instead of Jesus. ‘If Jesus loves me now, Can he save my little sermon somehow, Because I found a little promised land, And I’m reaching out to take her hand and drown, If Jesus loves me now.’ Or it could all be one big metaphor. Who knows!

Next up is the more acoustic-based Divine Lorraine. The jangly guitars are more akin to Dave’s first album, Resolutions, although this song sounds more mature – there’s a real sense of growth from that first album, through to Devour and now to Bury Me In Philly. The middle of the song is interesting as Dave sings the chorus – ‘You get ground so down that you’ll forget the sound’… – which is then followed by a lovely smooth guitar solo and, after that, the chorus is repeated again. It’s simple but is not really something I’ve noticed in a song before.

The seventh track on Bury Me In Philly is sweary little number and not only in its name – Dirty Fucker. Dave clearly had some anger to vent when he wrote this song and what better way to let it all out than through singing and playing music. As you might imagine from the curse content, this isn’t a slow song but it’s also not your typical aggressive punk style. I’d even say that Dave ends up sounding pretty suave. That said, I probably wouldn’t pick this song to play out loud in the office or to my parents… except I did just that earlier today (as part of the whole album), oops.

The Ride is another Springsteen-esque track that also somehow manages to remind me of ‘I Want Candy’. It must be the rhythm. (In fact, upon Googling, I have discovered that this syncopated rhythm has a name – the Bo Diddley beat.) The vocal lines are echoed by the guitar – plus, I think I hear a little tambourine. ‘The ride’ in this song refers to a relationship that’s going great but also feels like you’re speeding through things. Despite this, you know you’ve got something special so are gonna stick at it, no matter how crazy it may seem to others. ‘We might going too fast, Everybody got something to say talking ‘bout it’ll never last, But it’s a helluva ride to take even if we crash.’

As the album edges towards its close, the feel-good factor is really pumped into Helluva Home. Opening with some classic harmonica, when the vocals kick in you can’t help but smile along to Dave’s lyrics. By the chorus you are fully invested in his connection to his hometown and I personally can’t help but sing along to ‘It’s a helluva home, It’s a helluva home, Where else would I go.’ There are things about your hometown that you might dislike but it will always be your home – it’s what you know.

The acoustic guitar is back for the penultimate track, Wild Love. It is probably the quietest and most heartfelt song on the album with the full focus being on Dave’s voice. In The Ride he sang of pursuing a seemingly crazy relationship and Wild Love feels like the next chapter in that tale. ‘Can this wild love, wild love, wild love, Keep me stoned, Wild love, wild love, can wild love, Build me a home.’ 

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this was the end of the album but Dave has one last statement to make with the album closer and title track, Bury Me In Philly. The volume and pure electricity is cranked up again and Dave really gives it everything he’s got in this song. The song, despite the mention of dying, is a carefree anthem about escaping your hometown for the negative connotations you’ve attached to it but knowing that you’ll be content to return then when you die. They can bury me in Philly in the end, In the end…’

Dave Hause’s last album, although brilliant, was pretty dark in its subject matter. I’m pleased to say that Bury Me In Philly sounds like it was written in a far happier place and that happier place makes for an excellent album.

If you should desire it, you can find Dave Hause on Facebook here and pick up the record from Banquet Records here.

This review was written by Emma Prew.