John Davis was a member of Superdrag, which gained some notoriety in its 10-year run. They were a mix of influences including punk, early British rock and roll, and pop. Davis left the group after a religious conversion, and that’s where he picks up with this album.
Davis has an obvious love of Brian Wilson’s music. Two cuts here (“I Hear Your Voice” and “Stained Glass Window”) sound like long-lost Wilson songs. An angelic vocal and beautiful piano-and-guitar backing, and lyrics that speak to Davis’ state of mind. That said, there’s much more to this album. Most of the lyrics do deal with his conversion, while the music runs the gamut of influences. “Have Mercy” is a rompin’ rocker with lots of loud guitars. The solo is a perfect mix of two-and-three-string bends before several guitars meet in perfect harmony. The gospel-pop of “Jesus Gonna Build Me a Home” lets Davis shine on piano before he plays a clean, simple, and extremely heartfelt guitar solo. “Nothing Gets Me Down” has guitar that melds Chuck Berry with melodic rock soloing. It’s not an easy task, but Davis pulls it off. “Me and My Girl” features folky acoustics and jangly electrics along with a great vocal. It’s pop music as it’s meant to sound. Check out the layered guitars on the fills.
Plain-and-simple, I love this record. Davis has a real feel for the music. The mix of Wilson, the Beatles, Dylan, and gospel is truly seamless. Davis is never preachy, and writes about as well as one can.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.