OK. Let’s talk commercials. No, not adverts on television but reflecting instead on what it takes for a band to get sales and live bookings in these difficult economic times. As you might expect, it certainly helps when you can turn out ten songs guaranteed to please city festival audiences throughout the better parts of the world and Davina and The Vagabonds happen to have ten such songs and they have, for your delectation, put them into one album called “Sugar Drops”.
Judging a band to have festival appeal might even seem like some sort of insult but, these days, the reality is simply not so. A band has to be polished and professional to cut the rug at such events and that, in itself, takes a not inconsiderable amount of effort. Davina and The Vagabonds have quite clearly made the effort and these songs, despite their overwhelming retro reverence, soon remind us all of why true musicianship can never be replaced by the binary crudity of the computer. Davina, herself, handles her vocals with some style and is unafraid to pull in all she knows of soul and jazz to make those songs pass directly from ears to wallet. This is, after all, music that is designed to please.
Nobody likes to admit that the past is the new present in the music business but it is the truth that dare not speak its name. If, however, you can speak the name of Davina and the Vagabonds then you will be, quite fortunately, on a path to that very truth.
Best song? The fluffily stylised “Little Miss Moonshine”.
The verdict? An album nicely judged to appeal to people who still buy music.