Dave Livings’ debut E.P ‘Stray Dog’ is by turns yearningly nostalgic and then all at once full of hope, but always delivered on a freewheeling melody that carries you along on its breeze. Dave’s clear, soul-inflected voice lands somewhere on an axis between James Taylor, Jim Croce and Van Morrison, all the while sitting firmly in infectious R’n’B grooves. The opening track ‘Jasmine’ is an immediate feel-good listen, with plenty of space among the hooks for Dave’s guitar work to meander freely. ‘Now and Then’ wouldn’t be out of place on John Martyn’s ‘Solid Air’ album - tender, harmonic vocals over a strum-driven rhythm, with subtle touches of keyboard and electric guitar. The title track is the stand out, with tight and percussive instrumentation underpinning loose and easy horn riffs, and Dave’s vocals effortlessly blazing the trail. The comparative urgency of ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’, with it’s cloak of close harmonies, presses us into darker territory and on 'Scrub no.9’ we find Dave a broken man, penning lyrics of heartbroken defeat. Dave finishes up with ‘Hey Baby’, a playful slice of old school jive featuring some searing harmonica. If this E.P is a stray dog, then it’s sure found a home with me.
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