Mick Davis is a man of many hats. Emerging as the leather clad leader of St. John’s rock n’ roll stalwarts The Novaks, he has since produced a body of work that delves into a broad spectrum of sounds and influences.
From his bluesy bass with Denis Parker & The Modern Saints, to his outlaw country tinged solo sets at the Black Sheep, Davis has never been afraid to traverse new and diverse musical frontiers.
Coats and Badges, his latest solo album, reflects this eclecticism. It flaunts the profound musical intuition of a restless artist. Never content with conformity, Coats and Badges quickly runs through a gamut of styles and sounds in its 7 songs.
It begins with a beautiful and simple piano ballad, “I’ve Got A Feeling,” before switching gears to an array of aural treats that harken back to the dreaminess of last year’s Hello Again and its sister album, 2013’s Learning the Game. But like those, it never stays in one place too long.
It skips between 80’s synth-rock throwbacks (“In Case of Emergency”), to boot stopping anthem blues (“Streamline”). There’s careful thought put into each composition, each refined within its own context, each containing its own character.
“Streamline” might be the standout, but there’s a sublime honesty hidden in “Letter On The Door,” a lamenting piece that resonates with anyone who experienced the highs and lows of young love.
The album ends with the Stones-esque jaunt “Body’s Broken.” Despite being only 7 songs, there’s so much packed into them that it comes off as a much grander work. Davis’ distinct nasally delivery gives each song a common thread, but the album shines from the diversity of the material.
How each unique track blends into a memorable piece is a testament to his songwriting prowess and ability to service each song with the attention it deserves.
When peering into the St. John’s music scene, one must look no further than Mick Davis to find its most prolific songwriter. There’s something here for everyone, but that’s not meant to discount the legitimacy of the complete package.
Coats and Badges will make you feel, make you sing, make you remember. Most music does some of these things, but not all. These songs break that mold, but it’s not like Davis was ever a fan of being tossed into a single genre. This is a genuine piece of art, one that everyone can listen to and few forget.