Your Free Gift

David Clement

Show Dog Tunes, 2002

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


You get a singer-songwriter in a room with ex-members of Elvis Costello's Attractions, Alex Chilton's backup band and Sandra Bernhard's backing musicians and something interesting will likely happen.

At the center of this unlikely conglomerate is David Clement, an artist who has had the chance to be part of the music scene in both Chicago and New York. As the major labels did some major house-cleaning because of the then-impending recession, David Clement inadvertently got swept up with the clean-up. His album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Your Free Gift, released on Show Dog Tunes, is a re-recording of songs that were on his sophomore release.

The album is worth the purchase just to hear an artist who has a gift for writing both interesting lyrics (some straightforwardness mixed with a little stream-of-consciousness banter for good measure) and a band that seems to take joy in the fact that they're searching for that irresistible melody or hook. Sometimes they find it, like in the infectious, "ahhh" and "the yard." Other times, the quirkiness in songs like "geriatriphilia" will take a patient listener.

Clement sounds like he is still trying to find his voice. On a song like "Ms. Davis," it sounds as if he borrowed heavily from the Gin Blossoms. At other times, you can hear influences of Nick Drake and early 70s-era Bob Dylan.

However, you can begin to hear Clement become more and more assured of his own talents throughout Your Free Gift. Even though he had label troubles, Clement has been able to gain a following through his live shows as well as television. Some of his tunes have appeared on Dawson's Creek and Gilmore Girls.

"Smells like a metaphor" and "ho me" may be a bit too art-school pretentious for their own good, but in an age where college rock is still searching for an identity, it's worth giving Clement breathing room. And while there are enough songs to make "Your Free Gift" worth a $12 purchase, the album lacks any major unifying elements to qualify it as a masterpiece that almost slipped through the cracks of the record industry. Instead of a cohesive album, Your Free Gift should be taken more of as a sampler of what Clement is capable of as a songwriter and as a musician.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Show Dog Tunes, and is used for informational purposes only.