It’s been a long time coming but West Australian Davey Craddock has finally released his debut album and it’s as equally as impressive as the string of singles he’s released over the last few years. Sitting in the realm of soulful Americana music, City West is a beautifully recorded collection of songs that evoke emotional and geographical landscapes. These are songs with universal themes and a sweeping, panoramic Australian feel to them. Craddock’s voice is the killer blow — harnessing sweet tones, a dramatic bluesy huskiness and the swing and sway of soul music.
Better Alone’s mournful ache sets the scene before Keep On Waiting lifts the energy levels and allows some sunlight into the album. I’m glad Craddock chose to include the song, even though it came out as a single a couple of years ago now. It’s a timeless song that has such a great boogie-lite chug and ramblin’ and supremely infectious swing. A laconic Australian accent counts off Three Sprays, a Springsteen-styled song built on big guitar chords and Mo Wilson’s omnipresent organ. Girls Light Fires showcases a more restrained and sensual sound. There’s a sense of sadness to the song – of lost souls and regrets, all imbued with Craddock’s soulful melodicism and a fine emotive guitar solo from Luke Dux. Recent single Peaceful Bay is the moving tale of a chance encounter with someone seeking to escape or deal with a life situation.
Craddock’s lyrics are as essential to the brilliance of City West as the music that frames them. He sings of both universal themes and distinctly Australian scenes and astute observations. Lines like “White plastic boots squeaking across the docks” (Peaceful Bay), “Coathangers for aerials as the sun goes down” amid the ragged late-night gospel of There Will Be Light and Three Sprays’ “It’s a three sprays of cologne kind of night” are three examples of how Craddock conjures vivid imagery, complete with smells, sounds and atmosphere.
City West is a world class introduction to one of this country’s finest singer/songwriters.