Words cannot describe the confusion and horror when the first few bars of Dave Clarke’s album There Was a Girl kicked in. This wasn’t the Baron of Techno, this was the stuff of acoustic nightmares. Er, there’s been a bit of a mix up…
There isn’t much musical crossover between techno Dave and his soft rock namesake, but it still remains a highly confusing affair – even iTunes has techno Dave’s biography listed under soft rock Dave’s picture. All we know is what we can tell from the album cover; he’s bearded, he likes to wear oversized shades, he likes sitting in cars and, according to Amazon, his album is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. He cuts a mysterious figure.
Opening with the album’s title track, -There was a Girl’ eases us in to the lax pace of the record, albeit with eerie howling. From this introduction we learn that soft rock Dave likes to rhyme. A lot. And he showcases his rigid rhyming skills throughout the album, here’s a sample from track two; ‘running to hide, running to stay alive/running to keep still/running up a hill’ and so on and so forth. This is just a tiny taster of what is an entire album of forced nonsensical couplets.
After that one meanders to a silence, a live track begins with a civil crowd clapping for -Paintings on the Wall’. If you never thought acoustic could be proper sleazy, think again and listen here; ‘bang bang/yes I like it/bang bang all the way together’. The monotonous strum of guitar is violated by the filth that comes out of soft Dave’s mouth. This is pretty much as exciting as the album gets. Aside from a country twinge to -Wake Up’ and the brief bizarre ’80s synth intros to -The Escape’ and ode to sending an email -Lonely Days’, There Was a Girl plods along track-to-track with a faint acoustic guitar strumming mindlessly in the background, while soft Dave moans into the mic. It’s all pretty uninspiring.
Admittedly we got off on the wrong foot, so an external examiner listened to soft Dave to give There was a Girl a fair hearing. After a few tracks they turned and said, “This sounds like something Hugh Grant would’ve wrote in that film Music and Lyrics, doesn’t it?” Sums it up really. Stick to the original Dave Clarke is the recommendation.