On his debut album, Dan Black proves his greatest skill to be epitomising postmodernism. His record label is some hybrid of a marketing firm, modelling agency and eco concern. The failed singer-songwriter ditched his band and guitar for laptops and hip-hop loops, over which he politely spreads his mayonnaise vocals.
Slick, simple and thumping tracks such as ‘U?+?Me?=’ somehow recall the dubious come-ons of Robin Thicke and Vampire Weekend. But ‘Symphonies’, pushed wisely to opening slot (and tacked on the end, too, but with added Kid Cudi), is wonderful. The track merely splices together the drums from ‘Umbrella’ and the score to Starman, yet it overshadows the rest.
It’s sad, really – the Brit continually tries to be two things at once, but only ever hits it out of the park when he’s nicking from Rihanna and John Carpenter films. Next time writer’s block strikes, might we suggest ‘Rude Boy’ meets Assault on Precinct 13?
Brent DiCrescenzo. Available now online.