This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001
A review of the album 'The Big Romance'
There is a moment towards the end of 'You Know What I Want To Know', the second track of 'The Big Romance', where David Kitt is revealed - in the Clint Eastwood 'man with no name' sense - as an enigma. An Ennio Morricone style chant underpins the end of the song as deep in the mix some spaghetti western style guitars reverberate. The lone drifter image comes to mind. '...better watch your step / there are dangerous maybes...' he sings and the image is complete. But if Clint Eastwood was the lone drifter walking into town to settle some old scores, then Kitt is a lone drifter walking out of town leaving behind him new scores which others may try and settle - try and surpass even - but they'll find great difficulty in trying to match, for 'The Big Romance' is an album like no other. Highly original, wholesomely addictive and, from start to finish, utterly seductive, 'The Big Romance' IS superb.
The songs, like the man himself, may be easy-going and the lyrics not the most challenging but the overall picture painted is one of a much hyped talent delivering the goods the hype has demanded. The Frames have talked about being bakers. Each song being the delivery of fresh bread or something. If this analogy is to be applied to David Kitt, then he is a painter, each song a canvas on which he paints his wry observations, his 'small moments' if you will.
'The Big Romance' opens with recent single, 'Song From Hope St (Brooklyn NY)'. It was the first song Kitt released (on the much sought after Frames 'Come On Up To the House' EP) and in its original form was rough and uniquely homemade in its execution. In losing its homemade feel by way of, erm, a studio in which to record it in, it shines brightly as an album opener and straight away the listener's mind is made up as whether to love or hate the album. Kitt has a tendency to be, shall we say, a little boring. Some say too loose, too stoned and hopelessly unable to conjure up anything truly emotive. And once or twice this is the case with 'The Big Romance' - 'Pale Blue Light' being a case in point here, it's a mess.
'What I Ask' though is the real deal. Featuring Nina Hynes on vocals, the haunting and heartfelt song shimmers with a grace normally reserved for an orchestra. Based around the refrain 'love, it's what I ask...no less' it's easily the most moving moment on the album, maybe the 'Big Romance' the title craves for? Hynes shines brightly, her sumptuous and breathless vocals complementing Kitts' stoner style to he full. With just six words, the pair have created a breathless piece that ranks with the Cocteau Twins or My Bloody Valentine in its ethereal delivery. The music backing it is equally haunting, but optimistic. The bridge between verses would melt a heart at ten paces while the closing 2 minutes of keyboards and effects round off the song in suitable mysterious style. In a perfect world this would be a single, and in an even more perfect world it would top the charts for months.
On 'Strange Light in the Evening' Kitt showcases an almost Joycean poetic side with his late evening winter walk observations. Sitting on a park bench he picks put the graffiti and interweaves it perfectly into the rest of the song's 'plot': 'Sin'd loves Conor, Jen loves Troy, Karen loves Alan and Steyo loves himself'. The strange light at the closing of this day brings with it strange sounds and an effects laden voice closes the song amid piano stabs.
Stereophonics or Limp Bizkit fans won't be impressed but anyone with even half a musical ear cannot help but fall in love with Kitt's 'small moments'. To paraphrase the elegant 'You and The City', this is an album for those who have 'forgotten what it's like when darkness shows no sign of life'. Kitt's darkness is full of life, and the listener is all the better for it.
The Big Romance is released on Blanco Y Negro records