BD Gottfried works in a long-standing musical tradition, adult-oriented pop-rock with a wide progressive streak. The thirteen songs included on his new album embrace fundamentals first and foremost. Many of the songs, particularly early during the release, have clear origins in Gottfried’s piano playing and an obvious predilection for structure is a common denominator spanning the tracklist.
Opening with “Truth, Such a Rarity” serves two primary purposes. It introduces Onion Doves with one of the set’s best mixes of an adult-focused lyric within an eloquent and polished arrangement. It always sounds like there’s a lot going on in Gottfried’s music. There are comparatively few instruments present in Onion Doves’ songs, however, at any given time. His seamless weaving of these musical strands, however, conjures a much larger sound than its individual parts suggest.
The title song is illustrative of the album’s best moments. It reveals the meaning behind the title for listeners and few songs in modern rock or pop cover this sort of subject matter. Fewer do it well. Electronic drumming pushes “Onion Doves” and the percussive wallop of Gottfried’s singing compliments it. It gives further weight, as well, to the song’s words, but his vocal phrasing does more than anything else to invest the performance with gravitas.
There’s a melancholy spirit presiding over “Followers of Disarray” that holds your attention thanks to its superb use of language. It seems to waft past but has an unquestionable effect. “9th Line Beauty”, however, returns listeners to familiar terrain. Gottfried’s voice and piano are the song’s heart and the echoing atmospherics of his vocals accentuates the overall sense of stakes underlying this and other songs.
Onion Doves has consistent architecture from one song to the next without ever seeming same-y. “Three Stories High”, however, is one of the moments on the album that will surprise some listeners. If you hear the influence of Pink Floyd in earlier songs, it leaps out even more during this song as Gottfried’s voice recalls David Gilmour’s near-ethereal lilt. He eschews the Floyd’s Stratocaster fueled grandiloquence and the gentle unrolling of the song’s progression has a calming effect.
“Earth and Air” deserves billing as one of the album’s best songs. The qualities making this so leap out for listeners. It’s Gottfried working in full inspired mode and the song’s irresistible tempo is never pushy but, instead, generates momentum that draws you in like a musical tractor beam. “Earth and Air” has a fullness sure to satisfy many different listeners. The song, like its counterparts, never goes on too long and everything comes when you expect it.
‘Neuropsychopharmacology Jello” isn’t the album’s only instrumental. It is easily its most memorable, however, and not entirely because of its musical quality. Concluding the release for BD Gottfried is an almost defiant move; it serves notice that the Canadian songwriter intends on doing things his way. It’s ferocious and one of the album’s longest tracks. Ending the album with an instrumental is memorable, of course, and more than a little ballsy. Gottfried writes and records music like his life hinges in the balance.
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