David Atkins Music 2011 / 2018
Beamed back on ray of light, British folk-rocker defies futility with retro panache.
Here’s a new name attached to an old artist: he played with Michel Polnareff and had the chance to become the first singer with DEEP PURPLE, he was in BODAST with Steve Howe and was a half of CURTISS MALDOON. As their second, and last, LP had turned into Clive Maldoon’s solo effort, Dave Curtiss’ own record seemed to be long overdue, especially after Madonna turned their “Sepheryn” into “Ray Of Light” and exposed the duo’s doings to mass audience. It took him a long time, though, and some identity-searching, as the initial release of “Spitting On A Fish” had been credited to “David Atkins” and now there’s “Lawrence” added to the cover, which doesn’t really matter because, as the veteran intones on the ukulele-led title track, “you never keep a rainbow in a ditch” – and this is what his songs are all about: small delights of everyday life.
Of course, life can be a bitch, states the artist, but his album is an arresting acoustic affair whose often frivolous romanticism is flawed yet frank, what with the playful bossa nova of “And She Danced” featuring a four-letter word – and that’s not “love” – and the deliberate, delicious, brass-smeared retro air infusing most of the numbers on offer. David doesn’t dwell on the past, though, displaying a timeless intent in a fresh, even more luminescent version of “Sepheryn” and anchoring it with his gravelly voice, so fitting for the cinematic, Mancini-esque menace of “Too Many Bullets” whose jazz-tinged tension is palpable – just like “Blue Like You” whose unhurried softness is cynical, if soothing.
Still, whereas “Lazy Days” may apply the “Only You”-like harmonies to the bleary-eyed balladry, the raunchy, rhythm-and-blues vocals rock “Lighten Up Your Life” rather hard – and it’s there that electric guitar makes a cameo appearance to deliver a dirty riff, while “Shine On Me” provides the record with a merry finale – reeking of skiffle and linking the listener back to the album’s beginning. It was worth waiting for for a few decades – it wasn’t futile as spitting on a fish would be.