Listening to this elegant, organic record you’d never believe that it was made by the once-frontman of Myspace-era teen art-rock band Cajun Dance Party. Having also graduated from shoegazers Yuck among others, Daniel’s latest project is easily his most mature work. It might also be his best.
Opener ‘Minus’ immediately establishes the textures and tones that categorise the album as a whole. A pensive piano repetition partners double bass and mournful, scratching violins, evoking Warren Ellis’ Dirty Three, or indeed, the recent works of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Daniel’s wistful vocal, meanwhile, sits atop the moody instrumentation, sounding particularly angelic on ‘Stacked’.
At the centrepoint of the album is the cacophonous ‘Madder’, a track that draws on the dissonant majesty of Talk Talk’s seminal ‘Spirit of Eden’. It adds tortured guitar squeals to the formula, and uses subtle dynamics to violently progress towards a climax somewhere in the middle of its gratuitous 13-minute runtime. Later, the cyclical gospel chorus of closing track ‘Used To Be Older’ ends the record on a particularly mesmeric high.
All in all, this is an object of rare beauty and sophistication that posits Daniel Blumberg on a higher plain.