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Broken Down Figure

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Album Review

The reason Carly Simon gushes adoringly over David Saw in a bio she wrote for him can that be found on his MySpace is obvious: back in 1974, she gave birth to him in England and put him up for adoption. Not really. But so pure and pretty and mellow and real is Broken Down Figure, his first release on Simon's son Ben Taylor's label, Iris Records, that it sounds very much the product of a mingling of Simon and Taylor DNA. It's not just the playing, which is unpretentious, unhurried, and often understated, it's the words to these songs: "Some love sticks like glue, some love falls apart/Some love seems so cruel, when it keeps you in the dark/And some love breaks the rules, but some love breaks your heart," he sings on "Some Love," one of several tracks in this batch of ten that pulls at heartstrings with genuine force. Vocally, Saw can sound like a mashup of Jack Johnson and Josh Rouse, but artistically he belongs to the school of '70s strummers and singers who interpreted the rules of their own hearts while ignoring the whoosh of the broader world. Still, there's nothing retro about sincerity: Saw's simple songs are timeless in the Taylor tradition. As long as hearts break, swell, or otherwise sink down in chests, these songs will resonate.

Broken Down Figure, David Saw
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