Sunday, June 15, 2014

Crolling Back to You: An Album Review of Dan Croll’s Sweet Disarray

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Don’t you just love stumbling upon new music? There are very few feelings comparable to listening to an album for the first time with absolutely no expectations or ideas of what it may sound like, and just falling straight into it. Finding out about Dan Croll was a little bit of a happy accident on my part. I was browsing through a list of albums that came out this year, and there were a lot. There were all manners of different genres and producers. Somehow, my random scrolling fell upon this album. I really am not sure what it was that made me notice Sweet Disarray amongst all the others, but I am glad I did.

 Dan Croll is not a disarmingly handsome man, but he exudes a sort of charm that really comes out through his music. He attended the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and won the Songwriter of the Year Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund while he was there. He was also one of the eight students picked to have a one-to-one with LIPA founder and acclaimed songwriter Paul McCartney. If that doesn’t convince you of his talent, then you really should listen to his debut album Sweet Disarray that was recently released last March.

 His music is categorized under Indie Pop or Pop Rock, but I feel like his style is more like an interesting mix of Folk and Electronica. From the first drumbeats of “From Nowhere”, you can feel the electronic influence with the interesting use of drum machines and synths. Much of the first half of the album, which includes “Thinkin Aboutchu”, “Wanna Know”, and “In/Out” show lots of electronica styles, and a very Pop-oriented sound. It’s easy listening, and Dan Croll really gets you to bob your head to his songs. It’s lots of fun, and the production is very good. 

 Though his handle with the pop-y tracks is good, I must say, I was taken aback by the beauty of track eight, “Sweet Disarray”. Dan Croll’s true talent lay in his folk side—when he’s holding an acoustic guitar, and when harmonizing with two other vocalists, and especially when the violins swell and the words—oh, the words. He writes so much better in this mood, and when it hits you, it feels magical. The following songs, “Maway”, “Must Be Leaving”, and “Always Like This” follow in the folk-y acoustic trend, and constitute a really well made string of songs. There are harmonies, and the lyrics are just better. It sounds right. 

 And then there’s the last song “Home”. To me, this is his best song on the album. A quiet ode to his house and family and everything that feels safe and secure. The plucked guitar and quiet harmonies really take you to a good place. I don’t know how, but it does remind you of home. I can’t remember how many times I’ve listened to this one song since I found the album.

 Remember what I said about that feeling you get when you find new music? Well, I felt it again when I began playing this album. Though what I found wasn’t an instant classic by any means, I am still very happy for finding it. Not many artists like to experiment with lots of styles nowadays and it really is good that there is someone out there who is trying to do something new with music. Dan Croll manages to make pop electronica fun and easy to listen to while writing good lyrics, and he also adds more to the folk genre with his excellent lyrical ability and tone with the acoustic. One happy accident I’m glad I made, and one artist I will definitely be watching out for. 

Article by Mark  
Art by Mika

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Mark  aspires to be many things. He enjoys rainy days in airconditioned rooms. His favorite food is pizza. He also happens to be his own favorite painting subject. Mark spends too much time on the internet.

An avid dreamer, Mika is a fairly eccentric girl with a penchant for the poignant, who spends her days either contemplating the infinite wonders of the great beyond or what to eat for dinner. A professional shower-singer, she lives in the world of her headphones and watercolor, all while her heart does the foxtrot among the stars. If she were a fruit, she would most probably be a banana.

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