Pity poor David Ford – he used to be in a band called Easyworld. Remember them? A power-pop trio who never really got off the ground, they were heaped with scorn right from the word go, despite actually recording quite a good debut album, This Is Where I Stand. They split up at the end of last year, having released an even better second album, Kill The Last Romantic, which saw their frontman Dav (as he called himself at the time) pushing them in a new, more mature direction. Now he's back with his first solo album, which continues the introspective trend set by ...Romantic. But should we accept his apologies?
David's first apology is entitled I Don't Care What You Call Me, and it's a country-tinged ballad of grand proportions; probably the most affecting and honest song on the album, it has all the hallmarks of a timeless ballad. For the song's six-and-a-half minutes, not only will you feel his pain, but you'll find yourself reaching for the hankies, screaming at the stereo, in the hope that David's ladyfriend will forgive him.
Unfortunately, after the early peak, it's a disappointment from then on, with Ford's pretensions mostly to blame. The mawkish What Would You Have Me Do? is a Tom Waits jazz ballad in all but name and voice, right down to the depressingly contrived saxophone solo, while, closer Laughing Aloud would be far more effective with at least half its nine-minute running time shaven off. Even more depressing are the middle few tracks, which are so indistinguishable from one another you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd accidentally hit the repeat button.
That's not to say that there isn't at least one other high point – _Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck)_ is the most uplifting thing here, a elegant, string-laden anthem of self-doubt, given an extra layer of charm by Ford's local Sunday football team on backing vocals. It's just that anything else that threatens to be good is always flawed; hence, _If You Only_ would shine if only it could be bothered to get going, rather than falling flat after each tantric drumroll. Meanwhile, the politically-charged single _State Of The Nation_ is extremely inventive, with each verse adding a new sampled layer, from mellotron to gentle strings, but its lyrics swing from genuinely witty _("Jesus Christ, come back – all is forgiven")_ to po-faced sixth form poetry _("Preach on with the message of 'Go fuck thy neighbour'")_.
It seems like _I Sincerely Apologise..._ is the album David Ford had always wanted to make, but never got the chance, and we can’t fault him for trying; we can, however, fault him for the album itself. Pity poor David Ford - the best thing about this album is that it should make any self-respecting listener dig out their dusty old Easyworld albums and start playing them again. His apology might have to be a little less sincere next time.
4Alex Wisgard's Score