Derrick Davis releases his new album Anti-Social

The late 2010’s have been an era in pop music overwhelmed by artists who want to appeal to every audience, every market and every taste, and although many have tried – and usually failed through halfhearted attempts saturated in salesmanship – few have yielded the same results that Derrick Davis does in his new album Anti-Social. In the record’s closing salvo “Livin,” Davis wastes no time clobbering us with a funky, 80’s style stampede of electric riffing amidst relaxed club beats. Similarly, “Light It Up” borrows from the 70’s R&B model but finds its own voice in a colorful, punkish swagger that is also utilized in “Life of the Party,” though under completely different circumstances. In this song, as well as in the preceding “Hunter,” Davis hypnotizes us with a cerebral set of string melodies that are shapeless and obtuse until given a little direction in his confident crooning, and though his lyrics are cutting and emotional, they’re only half of the magic transpiring in this pair of bubbly ballads.

My favorite song from Anti-Social, admittedly, is “End of Days,” a pastoral alternative rock track that flirts with bucolic folk elements but clings to its slinky overdrive for dear life. Like the acoustic guitar-seasoned “Carry Me,” Davis translucently spills all of his thoughts out onto an invisible table for us to sort through alongside him, and while they’re unequivocally personal and at times decidedly enigmatic, we never feel like we’re being left out of the conversation or merely acting as the therapist to his melodic patient.

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An effervescent master mix allows for us to forget all of our worries as the sonic waves of harmony cascade from above in songs like “Clark Kent,” but it also makes it easier for us to appreciate the white hot grooves of “Blow Song” as well. No matter what we start off with in Anti-Social, it’s a record that is devilishly hard to put down once it’s been picked up, which speaks volumes about how gripping its tracks are regardless of the order that they’re played in. “All I Need to Know” gets us fired up like a battle cry before the real war starts in “Best I Can,” and by the time “Livin” fades into the silence from which the album first emerged, it’s as if we’ve just experienced a stage performance instead of a previously-recorded studio piece.

In the fever pitch of “All I Need to Know,” Derrick Davis reminds us that “Not all that glitters is gold,” but in the case of his sparkling new album, listeners can rest assured that its ten tracks boast nothing but gilded substance from beginning to end. I absolutely adore what he’s compiled in this record, and though there are still nine months left in the year, my gut tells me that this LP is going to effortlessly endure the test of time and stand out as one of the premier releases of 2019 come December. If you haven’t heard his music before, this is an excellent opportunity to get to know Derrick Davis, as Anti-Social quite possibly captures the essence of his artistic identity better than anything else he’s released to date.

Michael Rand

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