Posted by kate fletcher on March 17, 2014
The first full-length release from newcomer Dan Croll is an amalgamation of indie sensibilities; catchy pop hooks and perfectly positioned Afrobeat rhythms. Team all that with Croll’s clean vocals and witty song-writing and you’ve got yourself a winning formula.
Opening track, From Nowhere, is a hook-driven love song with bouncing, Metronomy-like organ chords and catchy chorus line. The funky groove of Wanna Know could be a track from the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’ album, whilst previous single, In/Out, is perfectly poppy and upbeat with exhilarating electronic undertones.
Compliment Your Soul really channels the Afrobeat rhythms that are subtly woven through the record. Having travelled to South Africa for part of the album process, the track begins with Graceland-esque guitar lines and complex percussive layering.
Dripping with smooching piano chords (similar to that track ‘Cold As Ice’), Croll croons throughout Can You Hear Me, whilst the listener is slowly smothered with laid back beats that seem almost effortlessly cool.
Title track Sweet Disarray is a simple and delicate acoustic number with just Croll and his guitar which details the struggles of his Grandma going through dementia. Glorious backing vocals and a swooping orchestral accompaniment emerge for the final the chorus like a climactic scene from a Hollywood film score.
More Graceland-inspired elements come out in Always Like This, with Paul Simon-like lyrics capturing the most playful parts of Graceland making Always Like This an album highlight.
Final track and current single Home is a quaint little ditty and a perfect example of Croll’s clever song-writing, ‘So if you ever come round to my house, take your shoes off at the door, cos it’s impolite not to and you’ll be damaging my floor’. A brilliant way to end the record.
Enthusiasm and passion exudes from Croll in the form of playful sounds and experimental instrumentation, ultimately resulting in a totally fresh-sounding record.
The tracks Home, Compliment Your Soul and In/Out were all mixed by Gotham’s own Mike Crossey with assistant Jonathan Gilmore at Miloco’s Livingston 1 Studio.