David West with Teardrops - Cherry on Willow

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:5 Release Date:2017-10-20
David West with Teardrops - Cherry on Willow
David West with Teardrops - Cherry on Willow

David West has served up a mix of indie pop/rock with some electronic flourishes in his collaboration with Teardrops, but he ultimately falls a bit short of whatever goal he had in mind. While there are some good songs here, there are also a few duds, keeping this from being anything beyond mediocre. Perhaps if the instrumentation and songwriting were bolder this would be more interesting, but it plays it pretty safe throughout, to its detriment.

Opener 'Morning Rain' is pleasant enough, with mild guitar rifts, standard bass and drums, and a bit of tambourine thrown into the mix. But it's also pretty bland for the most part, although the change-up midway through peps it up nicely. The title track has more personality, with a bit more punch to the guitar in places, and the bass is smooth and mellow. But they begin to illustrate one of the primary problems: West's voice is just too weak to carry songs very far. His vocals remind me of another band with potential sunk by milquetoast singing: Swell and its frontman David Freel. This continues through 'Joy', which comes off as pretty flimsy and tepid until near the end when a few more instruments come into the mix to fill things out and make it a bit more memorable. 'Love Comes On' is another song that doesn't offer much to distinguish itself, with its super chill guitars, bass, and drums, is the musical equivalent of a babbling brook: pleasant enough, but sounding essentially like thousands of other streams across the land.

The center of the album is where it descends to its absolute nadir: 'Time to Forget', an interminable, torturous song that seems to go on forever. It's a dragging, clanging mess with endless repetition of the title. I honestly wish I could forget this song, and only listened to it once or twice before skipping it every other listen. 'Reds for the Blues' seems an attempt at soft psych rock, with a moderately worthwhile trippy interlude, but it again is mostly straitlaced, middle-of-the-road music, and near the end it attempts and fails to swell into something more epic.

One of the strongest songs on the set is 'Soft', and I think it's because Teardrops play a larger roll, adding fun synths, a few shimmering pads, and a bit of bounce. Of all the songs in the set, this is the only one I really enjoy and would keep in my long term play list. Single 'Swan's Beat' also does more, though it starts very slowly, building to a swirling melange of sensations and electro accents in its second half.

Cherry on Willow is a low energy piece of music that won't offend (with the one exception I mentioned) but won't excite either (with the other exception). It's basically forgettable without being actively bad. I wouldn't turn it off if it was playing, but I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to it ever again.

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