Album: David Kitt

The Black and Red Notebook, ROUGH TRADE
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The Independent Culture

There's been a rash of covers albums released recently, not all of them as transformative as The Beautiful South's anthology. It doesn't strive to be as wilfully inventive as that, but the Irish singer-songwriter David Kitt's The Black And Red Notebook has a charm that raises it above most examples of the form. Kitt has developed a form of cyclical, hypnotic guitar music, like a cross between Low and Steve Reich, and his choices here have been largely determined according to how well they adapt to that style. He makes songs as disparate as "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Dancing in the Moonlight", "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" and "Pressure Drop" sound like parts of a homogenous whole. Arranged for solo acoustic guitar, "Pressure Drop" is part hymn, part nursery rhyme; "Dancing In The Moonlight" is recast as a folksy reflection highlighting Phil Lynott's songwriting skills. Kitt's languid version of "And Your Bird Can Sing" speeds up for a Neu!-style guitar-groove coda, while pulsing synths and drum machines lend REM's "Rockville" a nagging insistence akin to Depeche Mode. Other tracks range from the diffident (JJ Cale's "Magnolia") to the surprisingly enjoyable (Sonic Youth's "Teen Age Riot"), without breaking the delicate mood Kitt has developed.