When SHANE BOOTH and JOHN DAVIDSON take the stage, even before they begin to play, they have a surprise for us. They have given their partnership a name, CUA, and have an album entitled, “Winter Tapes” available. But are they to prove it is worth a purchase?
The initial signs are good as they open up with “Get Along Home”. BOOTH and DAVIDSON sing a cappella and their beautiful harmonies are enough to fill the room on their own, before “Faux Chateaux” shows that they have enough about them musically to keep a crowd entertained instrumentally for the length of one song at least.
“Wind Took My Hat” finally shows that they can mix the playing with the vocals; here with Booth – who looks like a long-lost, long-haired member of the Gleeson family – taking the lead. The violin adds an atmospheric depth and a sense of foreboding. “Three Months, Twenty Three Days”, which follows is a sprawling epic. The duo, without so much as a look between them reel off a five minute plus track that really shows off BOOTH’s vocals and DAVIDSON’s virtuoso violin ability, especially in the latter half of the song.
They play another instrumental song, which they describe as a “Venezuelan two-step” before starting into “Pillage”. It’s about Vikings, as Booth explains. It’s strange, then, that the song has an Eastern European gypsy feel. However while the theme and the sound of the song may not tessellate perfectly – nor does the chorus of “In dreams: ideas”, in fairness – there is no doubt that it all works beautifully when based on a pure aesthetic point of view.
For “I Blame You”, Davidson picks up his guitar and takes the vocal lead. There’s a JAMES TAYLOR-esque feel to the song as they sing, heartbrokenly, “I’ve got nothing left to take, you’ve got nothing left to break. I blame you”.
The bring us back to Eastern Europe again – this time somewhere near the banks of the Bosphorus – for another musical interlude before the more rocky “Where is The Sound Gone?” where the ‘old sound’ contrasted with the modern sentiment in lines like “The ways of the few control what we do.” It is to the great respect of the duo that you cannot imagine any of their tracks working without either vocal, where appropriate, or instrument. Each element seems totally necessary.