By Simon Hampshire
Well, the sun is shining and I’m sitting at my desk listening to David Alexrod’s ‘Songs of Innocence’.
Somehow I have gone through several decades of my life without encountering Mr Alexrod’s work until I chanced upon this album last week.
On first listen of ‘Holy Thursday’ I very quickly realised that the music was elevated above the norm – amazing late 1960s production and a bevy of outstanding musicians combined to create a stonking romp through a variety of styles in a manner which is at once entirely homogeneous and also difficult to place.
The nearest comparisons that leaps to mind are soundtracks of the era. Indeed, it put me in a mood to play ‘Sexopolis‘ by Jean Pierre Mirouze at the first opportunity, which is always a very good thing.
When listening to ‘Holy Thursday’, I was immediately struck by two things. Firstly the beautiful production was enchanting – starting almost as an earlier jazz-sounding recording only to change it’s mood entirely when the drums entered the fray. Secondly was those drums – prominent in the mix, played exquisitely and recorded so that they sound both natural and expansive. I was captivated at once.
Add to this some lovely, percussive bass, lush strings and an aggressive burst of electric guitar towards the end and Alexrod has created a masterpiece. It all seems to fit together so seamlessly and is so entirely memorable in a way that is hard to define.
I can heartily recommend the entirety of the the ‘Songs of Innocence’ album – just make sure you don’t unintentionally confuse it with the sorry U2 offering! If you need to pick one song as an entry point, however, choose ‘Holy Thursday’ and never look back.