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Dick Aven - Double Down (self-released)

1 July 2024

There is something more than a bit Beatle-esque about this new one from Dick Aven, if not quite reminiscent of what they did in the sixties, then certainly the sort of sound they might be wielding today had they all been alive and kicking out the jams together today. It is what you get if you extrapolate the sonic data of their last few, more psychedelic-infused albums and project it through the years with all the benefit of all the passing fads and fashion and the advancements in studio technology that have happened along the way.

But, that said, this is no pastiche or plundering of past sonic glories; this is Dick doing what he does best, and it shouldn’t need repeating that all music is reminiscent of something that has gone before; all music is made by standing on the shoulders of giants. But for every late-sixties sonic touch, there is double the amount of elements and attitudes found here that relate to and resonate with the here and now.

“Double Down” lilts along brilliantly, never falling back into balladic territory, never racing into a more rock-orientated pace, instead preferring to run at its own speed and opting to make its presence felt not through velocity or volume but through a gentle crafting of textures and tones, a swathe of raw guitar here, a chiming piano there and some gorgeous, accessible and infectious vocals that run with a wonderful dynamic from restrained deliveries to exquisite peaks.

This multi-instrumentalist is a brilliant band in his own right; not only that, rather than just having the ability to play all the required instruments himself, itself a rare and impressive feat, but he has a complete understanding of their role and place in the creation and coordination of a song.

“Double Down” is a cool and considered piece of work indeed.