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Caron, David J: Thru Ever-Ending Black

They say that it’s a small world and that time is a great healer, and I’m guessing that this review of Thru Ever-Ending Black may put both those theories to the test. To let you understand, I first encountered this album by the extremely talented David J Caron back when it was released in 2012 and gave it what I believed to be a balanced, if frank review in Fireworks Magazine, a UK print publication which I also still write for. Without going into too much detail it would be fair to suggest that David didn’t agree with my opinions and an email to the editor that was over four times the length of my review went to great pains to explain how little I knew - and to be fair, I’ve never professed to be an expert, just a hugely enthusiastic music lover. Credit to Mr Caron regarding his response, for I wouldn’t expect someone who has put their heart and soul into a double disc, 27 song album (28 if you include the download only cut that couldn’t fit onto the two disc release) not to be passionate about it and defend it to the hilt. Now, for clarity, David didn’t re-send this album directly to me, instead putting it the way of SoT webmaster, Peter Pardo, who, as ever, distributes music around the team for review, blissfully unaware of any potential backstory. So, in many ways, I’ll apologise for this album landing once again on my doormat, because, being honest, and without prejudice - as with all my reviews - my opinion hasn’t changed very much over the years towards an album that, to me, finds an intriguing song writer working within the tight constraints faced by many independent artists looking to share their wares - budget, time, equipment and a lack of equally inspired musicians at their fingertips. Anyway, for context, here is the ‘offending’ review…

Even though there is a huge amount to be impressed with on this debut melodic rock release from Irishman David J Caron, in the end the confusingly titled ‘Thru Ever-Ending Black’ is definitely a case of “Here’s what you could have won!”

So what’s the good news? Well, there’s loads actually; Caron has a neat line in hooks, a keen ear for catchy melodies and considering he also covers all of the instruments, there’s no denying his skills in that direction either. So what’s the problem? Well conversely there are also an equal, if not greater number of issues that make ‘Thru Ever-Ending...’ a truly frustrating experience. Not because it is bad, far from it, but because the potential for it to be great is obviously shown across this release. Although often buried under a whole host of issues.

For a slice of the good there’s the ultra-catchy ‘Time Machine’ or ‘Unbreakable’, which show off Caron’s slightly Robin McAuley like vocals, a tasty line in fluid, melodic riffs and smart use of keyboards, while ‘Beam The Ray’ illustrates a more sophisticated slice of refined AOR. The downside and for all of the smart songwriting on show, there is quite a bit of it, comes in the shape of the production, which while punchy and bright, lacks depth or character, while some of the cheesy keyboard sounds are more Casio keyboard than Hammond driven mania. Add to that infuriatingly processed (auto-tuned?) vocals that sound synthetic in places and, while Caron credits himself as playing drums, percussion that all sounds “programmed”, although in fairness, there’s a possibility that DJC is playing an electronic kit. All of which results in an album that walks the line between AOR and pop-pap all too precariously - a bit like Owl City so my kids reliably inform me...

The biggest issue however and one that magnifies all the other issues ten-fold, is the sheer length of this album, which is not only one 75 minute disc of music, but two! In the end, this leaves an overriding feeling of samey-ness that does the best material on this release a disservice. Caron does have the aid of a co-producer, but I can’t help but feel that the next logical step for him would be to find a band, or collaborator who can help this obviously talented writer and musician hone his skills and turn his good ideas into superbly executed ones. And less of them!

Now, with hindsight, some of those comments are pretty near the bone and nearly a decade down the line and with many, many reviews under my belt since, maybe I wouldn’t use phrases like ‘pop-pap’ anymore. While one of David’s main issues - the comment regarding the vocals - was possibly a little brazen from someone who has, admittedly, never recorded or produced an album. And yet, the reviewer’s role is to write about what they hear and even now I still find some of the vocals to be overly ‘treated’ and the drum sound to be less organic than my tastes prefer. However, I also stand by the comments that the good songs here, “Time Machine” and “Unbreakable” for example, are really quite something as they blend a commercial rock sound to catchy as hell choruses, and in fairness, across this lengthy offering they aren’t alone in hitting that spot. With some excellent AOR anthems also in evidence, lovers of that scene will also find much to engage with. And yet, my overriding feeling that if this album had a truly killer singer fronting it and that if it was pruned back to an absolutely all killer single disc, that the results would have been able to negate the issues I personally found with it, haven’t really abated even 8 years later.

As a good Fireworks colleague of mine often says in his reviews - ‘it’s all about opinions, so go listen for yourself’ - and I couldn’t agree more, especially here, while I’ll also add that many others reviewers viewed this album favourably around its release, while one or two were more aligned with my feelings. I’m guessing that David and I might never see eye to eye on Thru Ever-Ending Black but I’m sure he wouldn’t expect, or want me to be disingenuous about this or any other album I review. So instead, head over to the album’s bandcamp page and make your own mind up, there really is loads to enjoy, even if things still don’t really do it for me.

Track Listing
1. It Gathers
2. Look out
3. Time Machine
4. Comin' to get you
5. Memory Magnetic
6. Feels of Fire
7. Frozen Ice
8. Unbreakable
9. Dark of Night
10. The Knights
11. Too Much Little Time
12. Who are You
13. Wall of Life
14. Beam the Ray
15. In me
16. Still Just One Moon
17. Escapin' Back
18. One by One
19. Irreplaceable
20. Unlock it apart
21. So Let there be Light
22. Final Bell
23. The One
24. Has to be
25. Legendary
26. I am your Shadow
27. The tree that waits
28. This is Now

Added: July 19th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Thru Everending Black on bandcamp
Hits: 461
Language: english

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