Sound — 6
Dave definitely has a rather unique sound, but some songs seem to drag on a bit, especially "A Little Piece" and "Black And Blue Again." And "Goodbye." His biggest problem is that he seems to be afraid to experiment with different sounds... "Hidden Houses" is sort of pop-rock, "Hold On" is sort of synth-rock, "Goodbye" has maybe 45 seconds of hard rock. With his wide range of influences (from Rage Against The Machine to Marvin Gaye) I would have expected more than this seemingly watered-down sound. The best track is definitely "Bottle Living," an all-out blues-rock track (complete with Dave himself on harmonica).
Lyrics — 8
While Dave is a pretty good lyricist, the songs are a bit too self-indulgent sometimes, "I Need You" especially. Also, several songs show a glint of hate for a certain curly-haired Englishman who Dave happens to be in a band with (check out lyrics for "Bottle Living," and again "I Need You." Dave's voice, however, is great as usual; the emotion he can put into his songs is amazing.
Overall Impression — 6
This CD isn't great. Dave still has much to learn about songwriting, but this is a good start. I'd recommend this CD only for the Depeche Mode fans out there, but if you're really not into DM, don't waste the cash.