Review: Into The Sun

September 21, 2011

Bob Mersereau –

What is David Myles thinking, releasing two albums in six months? It seems like yesterday I was writing about his Live at the Carleton album, and now we have Into The Sun, a brand new studio disc. I don’t know the motive, but I actually like the thinking. All usual music business marketing practises are out the window now anyway, so why not go back to 1960’s release schedules? It certainly didn’t hurt those artists to put out two or even three albums a year. It’s actually been a year and a half since his last studio album, Turn Time Off, but even that is a very fast turnaround these days, with three years being the norm for many artists.

I think what happened was that Myles got excited about an idea and a project. He’s long been a fan of certain kinds of world music, rhythmic stuff from Brazil and Africa. Of course, given his age, that means Paul Simon was an early influence, and he also tells me he’s been addicted to Harry Nillson of late, he of “put the lime in the coconut” fame. This is all a natural mix, since Myles is also a singer-songwriter first and foremost. As you’ll hear on Into The Sun, the rhythms don’t overwhelm the songs, and there are some numbers where they barely show. But the basic idea here was to incorporate some of these influences, and see where that leads.

This summer we got the first taste, with a sun-soaked single, Simple Pleasure. Both versions of that fun number are included here, the regular and the Classified mix. From there, you don’t know quite where this album is going to go, but all the directions have good end results. Don’t Look Back is Myles’ version of an African number, and certainly you won’t hear that same kind of song on anyone else’s album. It features layered vocals and harmonies over a repetitive guitar line, and eventually a clip-clop percussion. There’s that light, high electric guitar solo like the ones on Graceland, but that’s about all you can fine to compare the two. It’s one of the best vocal tracks, and lyrics Myles has done in his career.

The track Nina is one of the Brazilian-flavoured numbers, with a hypnotic Southern samba groove, and a 60’s chintzy organ, plus more layered Myles voices on the ba-ba-ba’s. He also gets to show off those high school trumpet skills. There aren’t many words to this song, but who needs it, when the groove is so cool. This one is great lounge music.

Smart boy that he is, Myles never lets the experiment get out of control or too far away from his signature style. The nice-guy singer-songwriter stuff is still here, and I have to say his voice has never sounded better, in studio or live. He’s spoken about some training he took with New Brunswick opera singer Wendy Nielsen, a regular at The Met and stages around the world, and it sounds like this has paid off. Myles appeared Saturday night at the Harvest Jazz And Blues Festival in Fredericton, and he easily commanded the soft-soft theatre The Playhouse, a large house that needs a strong voice to fill up the space.

The disc is available on-line and in-store October 4th.