US - Illinois - Full Moon 120 - 07/11/06
Neon and Gold
Torito Bravo Records
Former Pindrops frontman Dan Wallace is a Chicago-based songwriter/composer who makes his debut with Neon and Gold. And some debut it is. Wallaces music has a wide range of influences, which makes this album a colourful compilation of different "indie-pop/rock/neo-psychedelia"songs.
The more up-tempo tunes here, like the opener "Fell" and "Maybe" can be compared to fellow American pop magician Ben Folds - but one can also hear elements of early 80-ish artists like Wire and their followers like Franz Ferdinand, Rakes among (too) many others. Inbetween these songs are a number of more minimalist tunes - even ballads and instrumentals: "Ladies, Gentlemen", "Before We Sleep", "Sonatina". These are of a more timeless kind, underlined by the overall use of classical guitar and instruments like hand drums, violin and oboe (actually keyboard, but whatever...). Here you can hear elements of artists like Cardinal/Eric Matthews, Rufus Wainwright and even Shins in their more sophisticated moments.
Most of all, however, Dan Wallace sounds as himself. The orchestration and arrangements are full of neat surprises, and the fourteen songs, in all their difference, are beautifully put together as a perfectly balanced unit. I very rarely have the patience to listen to an album of 55 minutes without taking a listening break. "Neon and Gold" makes an exception. Well done, Danny-boy!
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Kløften