Dave is back, with a follow-up to his Mercury-winning debut album (2019’s Psychodrama), the epic We’re All Alone in This Together. If his highly acclaimed debut was notable for its political energy and the serious, socially-conscious tone, WAAITT extends the project, offering a more obliquely political version of that signature social commentary that is more tonally eclectic than its predecessor while still packing lyrical punches.
Having sat with the album for a few days, I’ve found ‘Three Rivers’ the cleverest and most affecting (by which I mean it’s my most-played) track. Here he connects the Windrush scandal (“They’re deporting our people and it makes me sick / Because they were broken by the country they came to fix”) to the global political chaos caused by imperialist governance and corrupt leadership, both now and historically. ‘Three Rivers’ also has sonic resonances with that old Immortal Technique track ‘Dance with the Devil’, using a similar instrumental sample – this surely can’t be coincidental, as the themes of corruption and oppression from a system you once found liberating surely run through both songs. I also love the reflections on the way the past shapes your experience of the present in the title track ‘We’re All Alone’ – Dave reflects here on success and the role of family and community in shaping who we become (“What’s the point of being rich / When your family ain’t?’ he asks). My final top track is ‘Both Sides of a Smile’, a moody romantic Romeo and Juliet inspired epic written with James Blunt.
Dave is, of course, now well established as a more-or-less household name (at least, if my family is anything to go by – by 1pm on the day of this album release I had already been sent five text messages by my siblings over Whatsapp with favourite track picks, including a video of my brother and six-month old nephew dancing along to the bouncy, dextrous ‘System’), this album secures his status as the voice of a generation of young Londoners, putting the personal into the political and making sense of the current social chaos with his signature wit.