Under Review: Danielson – Best Of Gloucester County

As indie pop’s premier synthesizer of gospel and quirky folk music, Brother Daniel Smith has led a career as strange and wonderful as the music itself. Whether he’s recruiting members of his actual family for his musical “Famile” or assembling several like-minded oddballs for his ambitious Ships album, Smith is a unique creative spirit through and through. It’s a little disarming that Smith’s latest release under the Danielson moniker is a pretty straightforward listen. Then again, this is pop music on Smith’s terms, which are still suitably far from even approaching the mainstream. Best Of Gloucester County employs a more refined lineup of musicians, a possible factor in the streamlining of Smith’s outsider tendencies. The album also features some darn catchy melodies and humorous lyrics, which certainly don’t hurt.


Smith’s trademark falsetto warble jaunts playfully around “People’s Partay,” a time-skipping ode to a pretty great-sounding block party. A few other similarly sprightly tunes also stand out, such as “Lil Norge” (which features Jens Lekman and Smith’s wife Elin asking “can we be friends?”) and the classic rock-ripping “But I Don’t Wanna Sing About Guitars.” The opener, “Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance,” makes mention of the book of Daniel; at once a biblical and possibly autobiographical reference. This blurring of content carries on in the number of ballads and mid-tempo tunes. Those mostly come in the album’s second half, with “You Sleep Good Now” and “Denominator Bruise” being giving some somber counterpoint to the earlier exuberance. On Best Of Gloucester County, the Famile might have scaled back a bit, but they haven’t skimped on the delightful weirdness that has endeared them to us. Let’s face it: we’re all members of the Famile.

 

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~ by E. on February 23, 2011.

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