András Kállay-Saunders is thirty-one years old, and born in NYC to a Hungarian mother and an American father, who was Lou Reed’s bass-player for many years. Kállay-Saunders now lives in Hungary after representing them in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest – but there’s nothing particularly Hungarian about this album. It comprises eleven well-performed and well-produced – if not at times over-produced – pop songs, all around three or four minutes long, and most of them danceable. With the usual verse-chorus-middle eight structure, they don’t seem – at least to this reviewer – really catchy or unusual enough to stand out from the crowd.
Kállay-Saunders has a good, emotive voice with a considerable range – though, in the best Fats Domino tradition, some of the words are at times a bit unclear. Some songs, including the opening track ‘Victory’ and ‘Young’ have a rockier feel with drums and guitar to the fore while others like ‘Love in the Dark’ have a more soulful sound. ’Face in the Crowd’ has some tasty brass, or synthesized brass, near the end and ‘Get Up’ has some strings – it would have been nice to hear these on other songs too to add a bit of colour to the sound. There’s a bit of a guitar solo in ‘After Party’ – and again, more instrumental solos like this would have embellished the album’s texture.
Lyrically a lot of the songs deal with lost love. In‘Get Up’, we hear “I’m gonna love you till the day I die but I will never get you in my life” and from ‘Roses’,
Never thought I’d find you.
Never thought I’d have to say goodbye.
I’ve got a pocket full of roses.
I never thought I’d lose you.
We were dancing better falling down.
She loves me, she loves me not.
Two songs have a defiant tone and are maybe a response to Kallay’s critics. The opening track ‘Victory’ is a declaration of intent with lines such as “I don’t give a damn – they can say what they want. I’m climbing no mountains that I can’t get up.” The title track ‘Delivery Boy’ is equally challenging: “I’m living my dreams…I’m playing my songs, so won’t you turn me loud?”
‘Mama She Knows’ is personal in a different way and has the words “Even on a cold, cold night she will be your blanket” and “Even when nothing’s bright, she will give you answers.” So, the songs deal with intimate feelings and are no doubt sincere but the effect’s rather formulaic – there are no great stand-out lyrics that stick in the mind.
It’s clear that Kállay-Saunders has the talent and the team to produce quality pop songs – but, judging from this collection, there’s still some way to go.
Delivery Boy by The Kállay-Saunders Band can be purchased from iTunes for £6.99.