The Colorful Dan Black

In Pop on July 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

danbrowngifIf you didn’t know better, you might hesitate to listen to an artist with a name like Dan Black. Some might think think it was the strange side-project of the author of “The DaVinci Code” (Dan Brown). Some might expect it to be the newest offering by a certain country singer with an affinity for black cowboy hats (Clint Black). The name is pretty plain, might as well be John Smith. Except this young Brit is anything but ordinary and everything but what is expected.

As far as I’m concerned, Dan Black is a sure thing. This is clever, snappy, synth-pop bathed in flashing neon glow. If Sam Sparro (one of my favorites) was less clubby, if Robbie Williams was less sucky, if the Streets’ Mike Skinner was a singer, if Datarock got 15% catchier, Dan Black just might be the result.

He poked his head above ground last year with blog-fave “HYPNTZ”, a re-built mashup of the rhythm section of Rhianna’s “Umbrella” and the words to Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” sung over a dreamy bed of strings and choir (from the sdtk. to John Carpenter’s Starman) in the distance. That song was re-built on Un, as “Symphonies”, after Biggie’s management refused to let Black pull the trigger on including the song on the official release.  He shrugged off the setback and made the song even better with his own lyrics. While the album is very cohesive in sound, it could also be forgiven if considered an album of singles (a whopping three of these songs placed on UK charts prior to release on the album proper).  The songs are too good not to consider them as such. This is pop, not politics, and his huge, hooky songs swing for the fences more often than not. In the colorful spectrum of music, this Dan is anything but Black.

Let Go
[from Un|myspace|buy (UK only)]


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