Danny George Wilson
Conventional Music Meets a Toy Box of Sounds to Form a Dynamic Alliance of Inventive Song Construction
A man of many hats (Danny and the Champions of the World, Bennett Wilson Poole, Grand Drive to name but three) DGW strikes out on his ownsome for only the second time, albeit with some guest assistance from the likes of Emma Swift, Gerry Love (Teenage Fanclub) and Jeff Tweedy; and it’s fair to say that the indie-guitar songwriting style, associated with the Love and Tweedy is what mainly permeates this release.
“Lost Future” opens with a brush against the (guitar) frets; and then tumbles into a melodically discordant (it’s a sampled and reversed bowed cymbal) Wilco-like tune that would have sat well on the soundtrack of “High Fidelity” such is its indie-cool cred.
“Sincerely Hoping;” a co-write with Will Birch juxtaposes a jolly organ riff, anticipatory emotion and uncertainty; but always stays the right side of optimism.
“I Wanna Tell You” drops a notch tempo-wise, with a looped rhythm, piano, pedal steel and bursts of white noise.It’s not as challenging a listen as that description sound,s evoking a reflective melancholy the way it does.
“Heaven for Hiding” again uses unconventional but interesting sound dynamics – bursts of panned guitar and changes of tempo, sudden stops and starts complement, rather than distract from the main melody. “Can you feel me” starts more conventionally with growling jangle that develops into phased and more rugged growling guitar, but all the time, the experiment plays against and reinforces the melody.
“Right Place” then sweeps into view, with tinkling piano and mellotron (like pad) and moments of short, stabbing surges of what sounds like viola (I could be wrong!) – late in the song, guitars slice through and genuinely shock the listener with their ferocity – it’s probably my favourite on the album as the balance of experimentation and song combine powerfully with the song’s structure.
“Giving Away Too Much” follows; based around mid-tempo grungy guitar and pedal steel – unlikely bedfellows on paper, but actually complement each other and juxtapose in surprisingly pleasant ways.
It’s quite Wilco-like in tempo and feel, so it’s perhaps no (musical) surprise to hear Jeff Tweedy turn up on the next track “We’ve Got a Lot to Learn” – a cover of the track by Spirit, with Gerry Love providing backing vocals too, to add more of a late 60’s West Coast sheen to affairs – Jeff Tweedy’s contribution is a spicy guitar solo that takes the song out towards a dazzling climax.
Another unusual choice of cover is that of Frank Sinatra’s “I Would Be in Love (Anyway)” where Wilson is joined to melodious effect by Emma Swift – far from being a jarring choice, the languid, melancholy melody and sentiment nestles comfortably (well, as comfortable as befits the experimental accompaniments on offer here) on the album.
The album ends with the vaguely cut-up, trip-hop accompaniment to “Inbetween the Love” where Wilson sounds most Neil Young like vocally – but again, it’s the experimental musical curveballs thrown in by production comrade Hamish Benjamin that keep the listener on their toes, with the detuned guitar lines and cut short reverb tails.
In the olden days – or maybe even now – this album would be classed as a “grower” – it’s a fascinating mix of conventional song structures, juxtaposed against jarring yet complementary musical accompaniment and it surprises and entertains more and more , with consecutive listens.
Review by Nick Barber
Released 15th October 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY