How do you follow-up an album as lauded and critically acclaimed as 2013’s ‘Blindspot’? While most artists may agonise over direction, or even try to reproduce a looky-likey LP, Dan Michaelson employed a stella producer, in the form of Ash Workman, and then created an indie-supergroup to play-out his newly created material. Joining Michaelson (vocal and guitar) in the studio were The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart (bass), Henry Spenner (drums), Laurie Earle (guitar and piano), Horse (guitar and pedal steel), Nightworks/Metronomy’s Gabriel Stebbing (cello) and Johnny Flynn (violin).
And the result of this who’s-who of the alternative music scene? Well as expected, the result is a quite stunning LP.
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‘Distance’ pulsates with Michaelson’s trademark voice and, like its predecessors, remains the key to this release. Michaelson has a quite incredible ability to tell his story through a beautiful raspy whisper that, while sullen, is enough to stop you in your tracks. You’re immediately drawn in. The range of vocals are limited and as you begin to mull-over this point you realise that behind this smouldering voice are a group of musicians faultlessly adding to this ambience.
The best example of voice and instrumentation coming together on the LP has to be ‘Bones’. It feels sparse but is utterly spellbinding. There is an emptiness to it that doesn’t need over production. ‘Every Step’ and ‘Evergreen’ follow the same pattern. Beautiful and without the need for over-complication.
‘Distance’ certainly won’t be for everyone. It has a somber tone and contains messages of loss and separation. There is genuine heartbreak in this material that refuses to deal with day-to-day nonchalant relationships but instead deals with actual suffering and the anguish it can inflict. At the end of the eight tracks you feel quite humbled.
‘Distance’ is out on the 18th August 2014 on The State51 Conspiracy. The full track-listing is as follows…
- Burning Hearts
- Every Step
- Getting It All Wrong
- Evening Light
- Your Beauty Still Rules