US - New Jersey - Full Moon 179 - 04/18/11
Best Of Gloucester County
Sounds Familyre Records
Danielson, a.k.a. Brother Daniel, a.k.a. Daniel Smith, a.k.a. Daniel
Christopher Smith. A man of many names, he is. Best Of Gloucester
County is not a "Best
Of", but his 8th album, all monikers included (the Famile as well). And,
yes, he's getting better and better.
It's been 5 years since the last platter, Ships, so it's about time for a new
one. Some players have gone, but, from the ol' Famile,
sisters Megan and Rachel, plus his wife Elin, are still on board the
"ship". New team-players count Evan Mazunik (piano, organ), Joshua
Stamper (bass, horn arrangements),
Patrick Berkery (drums and percussion), Sufjan Stevens (banjo, vocal)
and Andrew Wilson (electric guitar). Most of them local players from the
Gloucester County, NJ, area
where Mr. Smith lives and works (with his own studio). There's also a
horn section, plus some special guests: Swedish artist Jens Lekman
(doing 'Swede' vocal on the song
"Lil Norge"), Norwegian Emil Nikolaisen (of Serena-Maneesh), Glen Galaxy
(of Soul-Junk), Mark Shippy (of US Maple), and Chris Cohen (of
Cryptacize). Musically you'll find
psychedelic traces of Captain Beefheart, Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, and
Daniel Johnston, plus also poppier moments hinting backwards to the
Kinks, the Beatles, T. Rex
and more. Smith also describes his music to be "...country and folk and
gospel (but in a way that doesn't sound like country and folk and
gospel)." The result must be
a feast, or what?
Opener "Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance" somewhat reminds me of
a 'skinny' Frank Black. Really cool, and indeed a promising starter.
"Grow Up" is really a wild
and wonderful song reminding me of Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston.
Strange little oddball pop-tune "Lil' Norge" (Lil' Norway), written with
his (Norwegian) wife Elin,
sung by her and Jens Lekman. Quite joyous. "But I Don't Wanna Sing About
Guitars" is another song making me think of Franck Black. I think it's
Daniel's voice that is a
bit Frank Blackish, even though Daniel Smith's vocal's a bit lighter, at
a higher pitch. In other songs I hear Neil Young and Violent Femmes,
like in "Olympic Portions"
and "You Sleep Good Now". Well, fact is most of the eleven tracks hold a
very good level quality concerned.
Best Of Gloucester County is really, really good. This is an
album showing Danielson from a more rocking side. But, he's of course
far, far from the main steam
of rock artists. Thank you for that! This is truly eccentric music, but
also highly catchy. 'Christian rock' at its best. Says 'atheist me',
without blinking. Best Of
Gloucester County is Danielson's best.
Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen