David Garza has an odd way of expressing his love. On “Litany Of Woe”, the opening track to his self-titled new disc, Garza sings “I love you” over and over when he gets to the chorus. Before he arrives there, however, Garza barrages listeners with a bevy of strained, strange couplets. His accompaniment is a maniacally sustained piano ripping through broken arpeggios in an eerie minor key, while what sounds like timpani and shakers hold down the percussion.
Later on “Outloud”, another naked profession of affection, Garza sings, “I wish you could take a bow/I love you out loud,” in the chorus. The most pop-oriented tune on this enigmatic but engaging disc, it has a strumming acoustic guitar and a bouncy piano tripping over one another to a demented, waltz-like time signature. Ah, love. Well, Garza love, anyway.
Despite a few minor missteps, this is a satisfying collection of songs from the prolific Texas-raised songwriter. As a talented singer with plenty of range, Garza shows he is equally comfortable and adept as a romantic crooner on piano ballads such as “For Keeps” and “Rattle”, and as an emotive folk singer on the classical guitar-flavored “Summer Love Jams” and “Why Spy”.
Though this is a fairly lo-fi, one-man disc, Garza makes a lot of noise. The way he belts out his songs complements his wrenched poetry. His acrobatic vocals are mesmerizing, especially when he soars in and out of his expressive falsetto, and his acoustic guitar and piano work are inventive.