It’s pretty apparent who David Mead idolizies.
Paul McCartney casts a large shadow over Mead’s work. On “Girl on a Roof” from Mead’s second album Mine and Yours, he starts the song with an “Ob-Li-Di”-like coo that leads into an “Ob-Li-Da”-like verse. “No One Left to Blame” features some harmonizing that could have been lifted from Revolver.
On “Figure of Eight”, Mead channels Elton John and John Lennon, right down to the “Imagine”-like piano and “Rocket Man”-like chorus.
That’s a lot of name-dropping, and it’s not difficult to pick these influences out of his songs. Does that detract from Mead’s own music? Most certainly not.
If anything, Mead reminds listeners of what gave that previous generation of songwriters such creds — a slavish devotion to melody, an apparent professionalism in performance, and voices that could alternately seduce and inspire.
Producer Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne has deemed fit to cast Mead’s songs in a variety of textures.
The opening “Flamin’ Angel” might mislead listeners into thinking Mead is an ethereal male Enya-type, but then the album’s title track crashes in with a solid rock back beat and muted electric guitars.
For the remainder of the album, Mead balances crafted pop songwriting, Eno-era U2 atmospherics and straight-forward rock rhythms.
A listener could use the adjective “sensitive” to describe “Comfort” and “Echoes of the Heart” without having to snicker or imply any preciousness on Mead’s part.
Mead soars on the choruses of “Standing Here in Front of Me” and “No One Left to Blame,” and on the concluding “Only in the Movies,” he perfectly captures the cognitive dissonance between romantic fantasy and reality.
Like Dan Wilson’s work on Semisonic’s All About Chemistry, Mead takes the best bits from rock’s songwriting past to make a contemporary album full of treasure.
A music fan raised on healthy doses of post-punk won’t feel too self-conscious about liking an album so steeped in the past as in the present. Mead does a remarkable job of transcending time and getting to the heart of good songwriting.
Mine and Yours should definitely be ours.