Loverman – “Love Songs” (PIAS)
It was a time of empty streets and shuttered shops when James De Greef, known as Loverman, returned to live with his parents. It is difficult for many, including the Belgian-British songwriter, to imagine that the Covid pandemic and the “lockdown of the heart” made him do this. The collectively described immobility and calm gave him the freedom he needed in his oppressive situation to finally devote himself to music after much hesitation. He’d wanted to write and sing songs for a long time, but he never felt ready. Although it may seem ridiculous, he did not particularly like guitars and even found them ridiculous. Until he picked up his sister’s guitar and wrote “Another Place” – the starting point for the eleven songs on his debut album, “Love Songs.”
Between Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg, and Scott Walker
With “Another Place” he thus opens his collection of love songs. Mysterious and pared down to the essentials, with only a nylon guitar and baritone that is unmistakable from the first second. The cries of seagulls and the sound of drizzle breaking in the background sound romantic and transport the listener to a secluded place you can almost smell. Loverman – The name may sound familiar, because that’s the name of a great Nick Cave song: “There’s a devil waiting outside your door,” Nick Cave sings. This demon appears in Loverman’s music video for the song “Into The Night” in the horrific form of Count Orlok from the classic film “Nosferatu.” Previously released as a single, the track delivers Loverman’s best dark pop ever. The lyrics, imbued with sweet desire, could not be more reflective of the shock of horror: “As daylight fades, my peace is found within / As I listen to the sound of chests beating / In the night,” sings Loverman, whose resonant voice fills the gap somewhere Between Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg, and Scott Walker.
It’s hard to miss the fact that “Love Songs” are supposed to be about love. A large barrel is opened by the songwriter here. Fortunately he didn’t want to fill her to the brim: “[Die Songs] Tell a new story that you’ve all heard before, but still need to hear,” he said in a matter-of-fact but confident way. Dressed in elaborately orchestrated retro ballads, songs like “Who’s Going To Love You” or “Nothing Ties” sound unfamiliar And surprisingly timeless. “I want you to know that I love you forever / Even if there’s nothing to bind us together,” he expresses his unconditional desire for love in the first verse. Without having to tie the person you love to yourself. By the way, James De Greiff managed From getting his mother and sister on cello and violin to orchestral parts, which, once figured out, give the sound the atmosphere of a family living room.
Love songs for everyone who has never fallen in love before
But the album titles are by no means comforting; “Limbo (We’ll Meet Again)” and “Would” have a very clear beat and only use a few accents from the drum kit. The composition of the latter is strongly reminiscent of an Italian Western score by Louis Bacalov: the guitar playing runs symbolically across the Wild West background, and the chorus accompanies the epic narrative. Backing vocals were sung by Loverman’s long-time partner Dizzy Ray, who had played with him in the past in the joint venture Partners. Given the idea of love in his lyrics, she is always present as an addressee – in the bluesy “Call Me Your Loverman” Loverman even addresses her directly: “Daisy, I’m your man / My love is in your hands.” The less abstract, personal messages make the tracks on the album authentic and relatable to anyone who has ever fallen in love. And for those who haven’t: “Love Songs” could change that.
Release date: October 27, 2023
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