A Review of "Scratches and Dust":
"If you were to trap The Beatles and the Beach Boys during their prime in a recording studio, the result would be a sound much like David Fox's. His first release, Scratches and Dust, does anything but disappoint. Not only does he have an astonishing talent for guitar playing, but he also has a genuine flair for writing.
"Fox balances the songs concerning himself, his loved ones, and his own problems with songs that have to do with subjects that have a more worldly impact. Among these songs are "Desolation," "Greed," and "When". "Desolation" asks how much better off the world would be if there was no greed and "Greed" looks deeper into the situation to say that greed is what has ultimately caused the continuous pain and hunger within the world. The two songs carry much of the same message, though in "Desolation" he goes on to sing, "Don't let it get you down, there's nothing you can do about it anyway. . .Get yourself off the ground, just do what you can do no matter what they say." The way Fox sings "D-d-d-d-desolation" is the same as David Bowie sang "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" in "Changes," though the rest of the song carries dissimilar structure. "When" falls along the same lines of the other two songs in that it also speaks about greed, but the main question it poses is "When will we start being kind to one another?"
"Fox generally takes a more mellow approach to songwriting and song composition, but the youthful teenage spirit in him almost jumps straight out in "Reckless." Though the song is fairly straightforward lyrically, having no more than 10 total lines, the song's assertiveness and the way that the lyrics are urgently expressed and repeated lends a quasi-punk rock air.
"Not only does each of his songs tell a particular story, but they are told in impressive detail. He sets a timeframe for "Carnival Motion" by reminiscing on dates ranging from 1965 all the way to the 21st century. He uses these dates to guide each verse along and he explains that no matter what may be happening in our own lives or in society in general, the world will keep "turning in carnival motion." With a summer mood about it, the song calls to mind the sun-drenched, ocean vibes of the Beach Boys.
"Blues and Greens" is a sunny song in every sense of the word. Fox's descriptive lyrics paint a colorful picture of a time when troubles seem to evaporate and all that is left is a calm, peaceful world. The song has such a jovial atmosphere about it that you start to wonder whether Fox didn't steal it from The Beatles themselves. He sings, "You feel kind of high when the lids of your eyes can feel the sunlight streaming. . . And your troubles seem to fly." The lyrics alone are impressive, but the overall warmth of the song will leave you feeling uplifted and cheerful.
"With a total of 16 songs, the entirety of Scratches and Dust can be difficult to wrap your head around upon first listen; however, the album is very well constructed and is therefore worth spending the extra time on. There is a definite sense of nostalgia created by Fox's music. Lively guitar solos pepper the album; however, because of the authentic, rich classic rock energy they exude they never disappoint or grow old. It is refreshing to hear music with character so strong that any notable classic rock band would be happy to call it their own."
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Alec Cunningham is a journalist and freelance writer from Knoxville, TN. She currently works for the Music section of BLANK Newspaper, Knoxville’s longest-running independent publication, writing musician interview articles and album reviews.
"Haunting and beautiful. John Lennon would've loved this." So commented Paul Levinson, author, professor and media commentator, about the song "Greed", one of sixteen original titles on the CD "Scratches and Dust". But the music goes beyond this, with a unified collection of songs that each have their own unique character… songs that take you on a musical journey the way the great albums used to do. With echoes of "the sixties" and The Beatles throughout, the album includes Rock to Power Pop to "Pink Floyd-like" moody introspection, songs that are fresh, yet take the listener back to a time when the airways were filled to the brim with magic sounds. The lyrics are worth reading on their own, and the CD comes complete with a beautiful 16-page booklet of lyrics, graphics and photographs. If you like the classic music of the '60s with a fresh, current feel, this album will not disappoint!
"Scratches and Dust" is truly a debut solo album, with all songs, vocals, instruments and production by David Fox with the exception of his song "Wild Wild East" where he had a little help from his friends.