“Hell 2 Pay,” the newest single from The Lori P. Davis Project, opens with deceptive simplicity, only hinting at the majestic melodicism that lies ahead. A balladic beat wakes up a guitar part that seems bent on discord. In the distance a melody that is all too reminiscent of a fleeting desire for revenge blankets everything in tension. Davis starts to sing with her trademark melodic wit leading the way, and any notion that this single is going to be anything other than a venture into the world of bold pop songcraft is dashed instantly
Davis’ lyrics are very commanding, but they aren’t campy or over the top in the least. A big issue that critics have had with pop over the years has been its lack of consistency when it comes to marrying words to watershed instrumental emotion that on its own has the power to change the way we listen to pop, but that isn’t a factor in this single. Davis spits out imagistic lyrics that paint a picture of raw humanity before our eyes without ever appearing before us physically. Her voice softens the blow only so much; for her prose is as splendidly evocative as the mammoth harmonies that accompany them are.
The drumming that guides the track along is very provocative, and I would argue just as much of a draw as the soft rock-style guitar play is. While not very high in the mix, the percussion’s equalization is much more spread out and even than the rest of the instrumentation is, allowing for it to be the sole foundation of all the shenanigans that are transpiring as we work our way from beginning to end.
Davis’ witty verses are timed with the beat down of the drums, and the two conjure more emotion and vitality in this composition than any of the other elements do.
This mix is very sharp, but not to the point of being annoyingly translucent.
The fad of tinny guitar solos giving way to hollow drumming is completely ignored by Davis in this song; if anything, she goes out of her way to keep the levels as intricately defined as possible to make the entire track feel more like a live experience than just another studio recording. Her efforts were well worth it; thanks to this sterling production quality, we can hear every studded nuance in her voice as well as the organically evocative nature of the drums and guitar.
If you’ve been hungry for authentic pop that refuses to sacrifice tonality for unnecessary showmanship, The Lori P. Davis Project has cut a single in “Hell 2 Pay” that I can almost guarantee will please your ears this October. Davis utilizes the full range of her skillset in this song, and while I still think that she could develop her craft a little further and be an unstoppable force in the pop world, this is an abundantly satisfying addition to her discography. Boldly executed and produced with a slick polish that even her major label counterparts would envy, “Hell 2 Pay” does everything that its racy title implies it will and then some.