David Paul Jones - live review - The Herald

05 November 2007
The Herald
Mary Brennan
4 Stars

DAVID Paul Jones leans in towards the microphone and softly speaks the introduction to Palmstar Poppy. His words tell of
a sea-farer casting off on a quest, searching for a love lost on a long-ago lone voyage. There's a sense of yearning after the unattainable but also that making no effort to trace his lover's final journey would be a betrayal of love itself.

The song cycle that follows, with Jones the composer/performer, shimmers and soars with a similar melding of hopes and heartaches, all drawing on the mystery of attraction and the wishful thinking that lingers about romantic relationships. In some hands, this would be laid out in bellowing ballads or drizzly whingeings, but Jones's songs have no inkling of the banal and no truck with the faux-histrionic. They are simply exquisite, ranging from gossamer threads of melody underpinned by rippling piano phrases to deep, swelling piano chords, like doomsday knells, offsetting vocal lines plangent with the painful awareness of loss and finality.

Between times, there are flashes of whimsicality, not just in Jones's piano soundscape but in his lyrics. He has a Lear-like readiness to frame fantasy words that conjure up places and atmospheres tingling with incalculable magic. Like love itself, you feel their charge but you can't really nail it in concrete terms. Burns's Ae Fond Kiss, sung slowlyand with quiet sincerity, is the perfect encore. I'll end on another pleasing note: Palmstar Poppy is set to tour in the spring.

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