David E. Williams – Banana Peel Slips on Itself – CD/Download – Old Europa Café – 2020.
The work of Philadelphia based artist David E. Williams was always good but seemed to rise to another level after the 2009 album Every Missing Duck is a Duck Missed. Recordings since then have been consistently great, it is as if they seem determined to consistently improve on the last. Williams has also been involved in recordings with Rozz Williams and Deathpile as well as scoring soundtracks and playing in Blood Axis, the Urge Within and The Muskets; this is his eighth album, Banana Peel Slips on Itself.
Williams is often accompanied by Jerome Deppe who appears on One Meatball, Erin Martz plays guitar on ‘Marquis DeSade was a Sadist.’
Feet are the subject of opener ‘Song About Being A Foot’, after hearing this I am determined to treat mine a lot better. The humorous Williams darkness is clear and reassuring that this album will be good. Marquis DeSade was a Sadist, has a Bad Goth track rhythm pattern, that is so raw it is excellent. I feel the clarity of the song, the (very) dark humour are in full flow as well as the prog -rock keyboard solos. Williams combines such unfashionable styles and makes them great again, he always seems to fix things a lot. Three Brown liquids demonstrates Williams piano/keyboard skills to strong effect. Margaret Sanger Lives in Heaven demonstrates further piano skill into an amazing dark ballad about the famed Birth Control advocate and sex educator. Each song demonstrates Williams’ skilled and inventive storytelling, the subjects are absurd and bleak, yet never unoriginal or boring.
Sun Cracks Through Black Cotton seems to evoke Howard Shores soundtrack to the David Cronenberg film Crash; it is unnerving, and the vocal is crashing and aggressive. Chiropractor Arrives by Helicopter is doom laden, slow, and hilarious. The absurdity of the subject matter is a comedic observation, was it something he read, saw, or invented? Dark Keyboards form the melody of Unworthy of Love, the lyrics are even darker, being able to read the lyrics on Bandcamp while I play the album is great, I never usually bother, but now realise how lyrically sharp Williams is. I dreamed I Caught a Cold really references the even darker sound of early work like Pseudo Erotica, it is a great mid album throwback. I May Be a Rat is humorous yet emotive, I still do not know where the keyboard sounds even came from, they are odd yet amazing.
Pets Will Eat Their Owners has a line I will never forget as long as I live – ‘ My Foreskin Melts Like Butter’, however it has the best tempo change I have heard in age. The great Jerome Deppe steps up to sing on One Meatball as further keyboard quirkiness comes from unknown depths. Lou Gehrig is excellent balladry, dark and slow as Williams reflects on the life of the legendary Baseball player. As the lyrics end, piano and keyboard instrumentation follows. The finale Somber Sombrero is the best ballad on the album, the vocal is smooth, a case of saving the best until last.
David E. Williams is a one-off maverick talent who will never be popular, he will never be cool, but his work demonstrates pure clarity and radiates a brilliance that never seems to faulter. This album continues his long run of brilliance.
Dorkus Maximus 2020.