Bart Davenport is a guy who knows exactly how to craft a pop song. In that regard, he's the sort of natural at songwriting that places him within range of favorable comparisons to Michael Head and Paddy McAloon. The new record from Bart and the Bedazzled, Blue Motel, drops on Friday and it's a sublime affair, full of the sort of melodies and hooks that echo old Associates singles and more recent Divine Comedy offerings.
The band is made up of Davenport, bassist Jessica Espeleta, guitarist Wayne Faler, and drummer Andres Renteria, and the players here make this material positively soar. The title cut chimes, while the even-lighter "What's Your Secret (Cleo)?" nods in the direction of both Aztec Camera and The Pale Fountains. Elsewhere, the lovely "The House That Built Itself" made me think of stuff from The Wild Swans and, oddly, Squeeze, while the superb "Grownups" is the sort of thing that Roddy Frame once perfected, all smart lyrics over rippling guitars. There aren't any serious missteps here, though the laconic jazz of "The Amateurs" suggests weaker album cuts from Everything But The Girl. Still, for the most part, Blue Hotel is rapturously beautiful in the fashion of old Pearlfishers albums, or even that first great Danny Wilson release.
Blue Motel will be out on Friday. More details below, or via the links on the band's Bandcamp page.
More details on Bart Davenport and Bart and the Bedazzled via Bart's official website.
[Photo: Carlie Kinnear]