by / April 9th, 2010 /

Dave Clarke – There Was A Girl

 1/5 Rating

(DC Records)

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.

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube

  • Conor

    “The monotonous strum of guitar is violated by the filth that comes out of soft Dave’s mouth.”


    Must’ve been torture to review that one. The REAL Dave Clarke needs to please stand up, please stand up.

  • Susie

    hi, amanda,

    in general i don’t bother with reviews by writers with obscure backgrounds, but, once in awhile something catches by eye, and, trying to be open-minded, i sit still long enough to consider what is being said by a new voice (to me). such was the case with your thoughts of dave clarke’s ‘there was a girl.’

    funnily enough, i happened to catch the end of the new slot of irish music, ‘undercurrents,’ on the gerry ryan show about a month ago and was greatly surprised to hear ‘paintings on the wall’ by dave clarke. i thought it was brilliant. and i was quite pleased to hear the researcher, john bella reilly, comment that he thought the music was ‘sophisticated, humourous, and infectious.’

    when i stumbled on your review, i wondered is this the same dave clarke?

    i think, amanda, the problem that i have with your review is that it lacks substance. i have to ask,as a music critic if you have a good library in your head to make reference to? do you listen to all music or only the music you like? and are you objective enough to make good comparisons?

    because if you did, perhaps you would’ve treated your responsibility and status of a reporter with more respect. objectively speaking, writer to writer, i found your article to be extremely prejudiced when you realised that this dave clarke was not the techno dave clarke you wanted him to be. further, it seemed to be more of an exercise in creative writing in composition 101… and on a day that you must not have been in the best form. i cannot say that i look forward to your next review for your thoughts but i would like to see if your writing has improved and whether or not you have allowed yourself to grow with more experience. i hope so. because in the public’s eye, i’d like to see you put your best foot forward.

    getting back to dave clarke, i have recently listened to his entire cd and have bought it. i enjoy it very much. i can see how his music may not appeal to every crowd because at a time when most everybody has the very same sound, dave clarke sounds just like himself and his music is his very own. i think we all needed a bit of a change, don’t you?

    my last word is, please don’t take this too personally. i imagine you had a tight deadline.

    the last word by susie

  • Susanna

    Susie, surely it would have been possible for you to have summed up your issues without being so unpleasantly patronising & irritating. Have noticed an unfortunate amount of crappery in response to reviews here. All well & good to allow user comments I know but still. I like how an obscure user responds to a reviewer (highlighting& her obscurity) by reviewing her&expecting that to be equally valid. That’s almost sweet.

  • Susie

    hi, susanna,

    i won’t deliberate too much on this because there is not much to think about or left to say. i can hold onto my opinions…. which i did take a good amount of time to consider before setting them in type. i don’t know that i could have summed up what i had to say in any abbreviated form. your last words of an obscure user reviewing an obscure writer cracked me up. here’s the difference.. i’m not in the public on this one. but amanda (is this you?) is and if someone is that visible than they should be clear about what it is they are writing/talking about. was amanda critiquing the cd or voicing her disappoint that she couldn’t be the one to review her techno dave? had she done the proper research on the new dave and did she really even try to listen? if so, she might have compared his work to leonard cohen, lou reed.. good grief! even frank zappa.. and the civil applause she grates on.. well, the beatles did something like that with sgt pepper.. further more, how someone can assume there is any filth in any of the verses.. welll, sounds like a very young feminist to me. i did say not to take this too personally, but, obviously, i hit a very sore spot. have a cup of tea, please.

    and that really is the last word with susie. cheers!

  • Conor

    Sounds like Leonard Cohen! Lou Reed! Frank Zappa! SGT PEPPER!!!

    Dave Clarke: A new legend is born.

  • Fenyl

    Hi Susie,

    I just came across your comments after reading this review and I had to laugh out loud and leave a comment. I write reviews myself for a UK magazine and I find comments like this can be either laugh out loud hilarious or completely pointless and I have to say that your contribution falls under both. From years of working in this industry myself there are always people like you who push opinions and attack writers when you make no contribution yourself!

    From my understanding takes reviews from people who actually bothered to get in contact with them and have a proven track record of reviewing gigs, albums – writing in general and found your response to be on par with someone who either has nothing better to do or was refused as a reviewer. Forgive me if I am wrong but the reviewer is entitled to her opinion as the reader is. Reviews are not meant to be taken as set in stone and like I said this is one persons opinion.

    Everyone is entitled to there opinion I know but I think you are just having a bad day and decided to take it out on a writer who as said above actually bothered to take the time to make the effort and provide content for State. If you don’t agree with the article that is fair enough but the above is a pointless attack on someones writing style when where is your contribution?

    Also that fact that you are taking offense to someone writing to call you out on what you have said and automatically assume that it must be Amanda shows that you are looking to provoke a response from the reviewer to your completely pointless comment – as Susanne put it ‘unpleasantly patronising & irritating’. Maybe Susanne is Amanda – all I have to say is that if you think you could of done a better job then why didn’t you contribute to State.

    I can assure you that I am not Amanda but a writer who thinks that this kind of online abuse is uncalled for and pointless!

    And this really is the last word from Fenyl.

  • Conor

    We’re gonna do somethin’ real serious…


  • JOC

    I would just like to agree with Fenyl’s comment and add a few thoughts of my own.

    Since when has it become acceptable to discredit two people’s identities by assuming they are both the one person and not who they say they are? I’m sure if Amanda cared to respond to Susie she would have had the balls to do so in her own name, since she had the character to submit such an honest (and I must say hilarious) review in the first place.

    Also, I think it is very inappropriate to attack the writer’s credentials, it is very much encouraged to air your opinion on the review and any content here, which is why there is a comments facility, but to personally attack the reviewer makes me think you should look inside yourself and question what motivated you to do that. In case you failed to notice State is an online, independent music magazine, and therefore rather unlikely to feature contributions from the likes of Paul Morley or his ilk. If you’re looking for writers who toe the line with celebrity status I suggest you frequent a more mainstream media outlet.

    I am not going to enter into a debate on feminism here, but it is pretty outrageous to see ‘sounds like a very young feminist to me’ written there. I am young and I am a feminist, so sue me? BTW I am not Amanda!

    I will finish by saying that this is not a website devoted to saving the world, combating poverty or curing terminal illness, it is supposed to be a discourse about music, so maybe it is time to lighten up? (and this suggestion is in reference to a number of comments generated throughout the website recently not just on this review)

  • elise

    I listened to the Dave Fanning Show last night, Monday the 19th, on RTE 2FM. He played two songs from Dave Clarke’s THERE WAS A GIRL and raved that he ‘loved them!’ He said that the cd was ‘well worth checking out.’ I totally agree – it’s incredible!


  • Susanna

    Just coming back to this about a week later. I’d just like to say I’m not Amanda either! Poor Amanda! I do write for State though.