David James Allen, Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, is gearing up for the release of his third solo album. “Nobody,” the latest single off the forthcoming album The Architect, is the third piece of the puzzle shaping Allen’s current artistic enigma.
“Bound To The Game” and “For The Times,” the preceding singles for The Architect, proved Allen’s ability to write slightly bluesy, slightly pop, rocking country tunes. “Nobody” fine-tunes the sounds of Allen’s previous endeavors to create something more unique. Pulling the strongest elements from previous releases and eliminating other that would overcrowd it.
The opening drumbeat of “Nobody” may lead you to think this is a 1970s rocker, but what you end up with is at the base level, a folk tune. The slide guitar and violin pairing are mesmerizing. Both elements made their debut in earlier works from Allen when he was more focused on country music. Here they are used less frequently yet more effectively. The mastering of the track is superb. I can clearly identify each instrument. It may seem irrelevant but so many contemporary songs are loaded to the brim with elements that distract from each other.
It seems that Allen takes a page or two from the Bob Dylan playbook on lyricism. Introspective lyrics that question the validity of our society. The opening lyric expresses this, “going back from a crusade, times they have changed, and nobody’s waited for you” and the repetition of the line “the world has erupted.” Allen has spoken publicly many times about his suffering with imposter syndrome, creating a severe lack of self-confidence.
Allen’s vocals are an aspect of the song that took me some time to come to grips with. He sings with a traditional country twang. Considering he is Canadian; I assume this is a creative choice. The range on “Nobody” is very limited. If he has a wide range, it is not expressed. Range is not the only thing important for a singer. It’s all about how one uses their voice to be most effective.
I’ve already mentioned Dylan, but a comparison can be drawn to him here as well. Dylan, who is of course cited by many as one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time, had a very limited range. As a result, he sang many of his songs in a more restful way, like he was reciting a poem. This is exactly what Allen does in “Nobody” and it works very well because it is appropriate for the song. This is not a belter it is more like an inner monologue.
David James Allen has delivered one of the most refreshing songs I have heard in a long time with “Nobody”. There is a sort of back-to-basics approach that I admire. “Nobody” balances excellent musicianship with a pure sound that doesn’t feel overproduced. It is a well-rounded and reflective track both personally and musically. A traditionalist’s dream, but you don’t have to be one to enjoy it.