When I listened to Drew Danburryâs
previous release, Goodnight Gary
, I really liked his stuff. The new album, Goodnight Dannii
, is more of the same in the sense that he hasnât completely changed his style. However, it is head and shoulders above Goodnight Gary
is more assured than the previous release â Drewâs voice is more confident, the recording quality seems better, the songs seem tighterâ¦ He still features a wide range of instruments, but they seem to be used more skilfully now â he knows when they will lend something to the track, but he equally knows when it just needs to be him and his guitar. He also manages extensive use of the harmonica without turning this into a folk album â a difficult feat indeed.
He is also very skilled at using instruments to add to the feel of the piece. In âWill Oldhamâ, for example; a song about moving on and travelling forward, the rhythm is very regular, not slow, not quick, but faster-than-average walking pace. And it stays like that throughout, except when the song breaks into a wonderful brass section that is reminiscent of a marching band (again, in keeping with the lyrics).
The percussion at the beginning of âThe Train Has A Family, The Road Has No Home, Thereâs No Right and Wrong In The Choice Aloneâ on the other hand (his song names havenât got any shorterâ¦) is lovely and whimsical â the song is twee without being too twee; wonderful laid back pop.
âOptimus Prime Is Deadâ is a fantastically upbeat track, probably the happiest on the album; starting with some 60s-esque du-wop harmonising that just makes you want to be dancing in the sunshine (donât worry, Iâm not going all Toploader on you).
'Non A McMerde', on the other hand, is at the other end of the scale. Only 55 seconds long it is a soft, beautiful instrumental featuring muted brass over delicately picked guitar â when you listen to this track itâs as though everything around you has stopped to allow you to take it in.
This album is a great soundtrack to the summer â maybe not for the heat of the day, or for going wild at night, but for that period in the evening when the sun is low in the sky, the barbeque embers are cooling and everyone is slightly drunk and extremely chilled out â thatâs when this album should come on (Dispersing The Veil is a great place to start for this sort of atmosphere).
It may be due to a lack of knowledge on my part, but Drew doesnât sound like any singer/songwriter I know â there are hints of Belle and Sebastian, Adam Green, even Leonard Cohen at times, but not only does he not sound like them, he clearly isnât trying to be any of them. If he was finding himself during Goodnight Gary
, heâs found himself now. This is a very accomplished album.