Album review: DAVID COURTNEY – Isolation Symphony

DAVID COURTNEY – Isolation Symphony

The Store For Music [Release date 18.12.20]

Those in the know are well aware that David Courtney is a Grammy award winning composer, producer and songwriter. Over the years, his musical partnerships with Roger Daltrey, Leo Sayer, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and many, many more have led to over 33 million record sales.

And yet his profile is distinctly subterranean. Artists who’ve sold a lot less are household names. Perhaps when you’ve sold 33 million you don’t care.

If you read any of the interviews he’s had over the years, it’s clear his music composition is based almost entirely on melody and emotions. The lyrics come later. And although there are conventional songs here, much of this album, written midst pandemic (the title is something of a giveaway) is instrumental, using keys, synths and the occasional guitar, inserting spoken word excerpts to illustrate the point of the music, the mood, the meaning, and vice versa. It’s very effective, and very entertaining.

He has a taste for the cinematic, using widescreen musical vistas at times (‘World Needs Love’, ‘Lockdown’), and at others, painting very personal thoughts onto a big canvas (‘Lost’, ‘Silent Scream’).

It may not be immediately obvious from the track titles that ‘Isolation Symphony’ is a three part suite, moving through Lockdown to Isolation, to Liberty. In Part 1, ‘The Invisible’ anchors us to the reality that the pandemic means the same to every city, every country. In Part 2, the slow moving, symphonic soft prog/rock of ‘Here To Eternity’ emphasises the notion of an “all in it together” journey. And in Part 3, the percussive thrust of the upbeat ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ leads eventually to a world in celebration, as it walks back out into the sun.

Courtney created the album specifically to raise funds for frontline NHS staff. He has dedicated it to the late Adam Faith. “Adam was eternally grateful to the NHS, who saved his life following an horrific car crash in 1974”. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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