10/10/2019 | David Ford – The Bullingdon, Oxford

Lisa Ward

On the brink of Brexit, how better to cure our woes than to listen to David Ford sing about how shit it all is. Sadly, Ford doesn’t deliver. Perhaps equally sick of the ongoing debate the vast majority of his set sidesteps politics, which is an impressive feat given that’s a large part of his collection. Instead, he draws largely from his latest album ‘Animal Spirits’ and whilst this explores issues of economics it does so with a lot less punch than his odes to Maggie Thatcher.

While Why Don’t You Answer Your Telephone? shows off his skills on the loop pedal, and his cover of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer highlights his capacity to reimagine old songs, it all feels a bit lacklustre, as if the rage and fire of his previous work has subsided into a depressing acceptance of the state of the world. Though his closing rendition of State of the Union brings back a taste of the anger and pure emotion that normally carries a Ford show, even this feels somewhat less than normal, as if he has simply given up the fight.

Elsewhere O’Sullivan’s Jukebox shows off Ford’s talent on the ivories and in writing rhyming couplets and Ballad of Miss Lily shows why, in my opinion, he’s one of the finest guitar players this country has produced. Nevertheless, it still seems to all hang in the air, lacking any decisive direction. At a point then when it feels like there is to be comfort from the current state of political unrest in a stranger and a song, instead we’re left wanting and longing for a decision which never seems to come.