David LaViola calls his music retropop, which in his own words brings together modern day song structure and emotionally raw lyrical intensity with vintage melodic sensibility. After taking a listen to his three-song EP Keep The Fire I do hear some throwback to ‘50s doo-wop but for the most part the songs could easily fit into a simple modern day pop category. The three are very well written and very catchy. Even the most jaded of hipsters can embrace the immediate infectious nature of these songs.
From an aesthetic perspective, the songs are very well produced and well mixed. They have the type of production you would expect to hear from the radio. I have to say the one aspect that baffled me was that the second song “I Don't Believe In Love” was a good 5 dBs louder than the other songs (something that should have been taken care of in the mastering process).
The first song “Just Like Suicide” sounds like a combination of a band like Phoenix and ‘50s doo-wop. It’s a bit dance-y while still being primarily guitar based. LaViola is a good singer who has an attractive tone while having decent range. The song contains a dichotomy between contrasting elements. Take for instance the immediate intensity of the guitars coupled with the soft lead synth. Overall, “Just Like Suicide” crams a lot of good song in its three-and-a-half minutes.
The second track “I Don't Believe In Love” is the highlight of the three songs. Laviola sounds great against the orchestral strings as he sings, “and now I know that I don’t believe in love, I’m not afraid to be alone because I don’t believe in love, maybe now I can let you go.” “I Don't Believe In Love” sounds like a mixture of Vampire Weekend and Fountains Of Wayne.
The last song “Empty Space” has the least retro sound of the three. Everything from the production to the melody feels modern.
Keep the Fire is a solid start for LaViola. I like the fact that his songs feel a little off kilter to standard mainstream pop. If he can push the envelope a little bit further with innovation than his type of music might be the new pop standard.
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