I Sincerely Apologise For All the Trouble I've Caused is a quandary of an album. Striking an uneasy balance between adult orientated rock and something slightly more edgy, it takes occasional leaps into braver territory before retreating once more to the safety of the FM playlist. It is difficult to ascertain whether this curious tendency is the result of misguided direction or a lack of confidence on the part of David Ford. Nevertheless, the result is a sometimes lovely, often frustrating listening experience that suggests potential for a cracking sophomore effort.


Just as Seachange was Beck's miserable album, so this appears to be Ford's. And while Beck took the opportunity to exorcise his demons before reverting to more experimental and playful ventures, it is reasonable to hope that Ford will follow the same lead. This is not to say that ‘I Sincerely Apologise…' is not a respectable debut in its own right. There is no questioning the solidity of his songwriting, and the better moments here are very impressive indeed. Perseverance is, however, required.


I Don't Care What You Call Me is not an ideal choice of opener. Its dawdling pace and attempt to build up slowly in volume prevent it from gathering a great deal of interest. Lyrically, this is not Ford's strongest track and while he is a more than competent vocalist – falling somewhere between Ian Ball (Gomez) and James Blunt – he sometimes falls victim to excessive sentimentality.


State of the Union would have made a far stronger introductory track. Simultaneously edgy and beautiful, it succeeds where the former failed by making effective use of dynamics and demonstrating exactly how a gradual increase in tension should be executed. It is driven by Ford's striking lyricism and vocals while plucked violin and smatters of piano contribute to the sense of doom. This track stands out because it is both interesting and powerful, combining the album's strongest lyrics with the most inventive musical progression. It is undeniable proof that David Ford's anger is more aesthetically pleasing than his anguish.


Ballads are not Ford's forte and often come across sadly contrived. What Would You Have Me Do is self-pitying and mopey though, in its defence, the instrumental breadth here is not lacking. Bursts of violin and saxophone prevent the song from becoming dull, and yet something is still not quite right. Perhaps a similar criticism to that of the opening track can be utilized here – the fact that each of these tracks seem to concentrate more on producing a lush atmosphere than emphasising the core of the song.


Interestingly, this is followed by a track called Cheer Up (You Miserable F**k). This is one of many times where I Sincerely Apologise… appears more of an audio diary than a conventional album. Many of the tracks sound like conversations held between Ford and his mirror, and to interpret them as such throws a different light over the album as a whole.


Ford is to be congratulated for his courageous songwriting. While the accompanying music does not always do it justice, his lyrics are most often penetrating and sincere and rarely fail to have an impact. For this reason, he will not fail to establish a passionate fanbase, regardless of its size.


I Sincerely Apologise For All the Trouble I've Caused is an extremely difficult album to review because it is impossible to avoid weighing the final product against Ford's obvious potential. Only two or three tracks on this album truly do him justice however, as stated earlier, this handful of stellar moments will mean that David Ford's next effort will be eagerly anticipated.

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