Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele - The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
What first drew me to Dent May was, in fact, his Magnificent Ukulele. And I don't mean to sound salacious. I am referring to the diminutive, Hawaiian guitar-like instrument that's been a hit with major folk, indie and ska artists in the past few months. Having appeared on stage with acts like the King Blues and Noah and the Whale, and let's not forget the frankly fabulous Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the uke seems to be doing pretty well for itself. And albums like this one will hopefully cement the instrument's prominent place on the indie scene!
Aptly nicknamed the "jumping flea", the ukulele has a personality of its own, evoking the light holiday atmosphere of the land of its origin. It lends an ever so laid back and mischievously endearing quality which Dent (now I need to mention him at some point) captures brilliantly in his music in a way he couldn’t do with another instrument.
Tracks like "Love Song 2009" and "Meet Me in the Garden" are romantic and sunshiny. Timeless "Oh Paris," with its deep brass bass is like a celebratory parade. Vocals are artfully composed and comedic, a bit like Ben Folds Five. Indeed the album opens with a cappella "Welcome" - a brief track which showcases Dent's masterful ability to make tracks which are honest, emotive, musical and amusing all at the same time.
"God Loves You Micheal Chang" and "Girls on the Square" would sound downright depressing with a guitar, but with the uke and the twang of Dent's quirky folk vocals they are lifted to entertaining yet wistful show tunes. The slides on similarly uplifted track "I'm An Alcoholic" seem to be a skilful musical evocation of an actual drunk, and there's a bit of a surprise on dreamy "Girl's on the Square" which manages to seamlessly accommodate an electric guitar solo!
I challenge you to listen to this Magnificent Ukulele (oh and Dent May too!) without smiling. I challenge you to listen to a ukulele without smiling! Both Uke and Dent will fit in just nicely, and bring a little bit of sunshine into our miserable British winter.