Release Date: Feb 16, 2010
Record label: Hours/A&M
Genre(s): Indie, Electronic
Most bands use the “Influences” section on their Myspace pages as a resume, listing the important titans of music that have come before them, showing off a depth of musical knowledge. That or they go the sarcastic route, leaving it blank or filling it in with a joke or visual pun, showing they are too cool to list their influences. Dan Black lists two artists in his “Influences” section: Jay-Z and Sigur Ros.
Dan Black was one of the main proponents of the “wonky pop” scene in late 2000s, that is, unabashedly “pop” but with some brains and musical invention, and not just slavish re-creations of current musical trends designed to get your songs in the charts. His early singles (which are collected here on his debut album) were strutting, ultra-hooky songs that mixed up hip-hop, rock, funk, and pop into a very appealing sound fronted by Black’s smooth and insistent vocals. “Yours” and “Alone” are both very inventive tracks and easy-to-digest songs that fans of radio pop could get into, "Symphonies," which is his high point as an artist so far, slows things down and wraps Black’s voice in a beautiful string sample, and shows he can deliver some real emotion.
Tipped at the start of the year to join La Roux in electro-pop's vanguard, Black's more soft-centred approach has since lagged behind, though this idiosyncrantic debut should help him make up ground..
Paris-based Dan Black created a splash online with Hypntz, an adaptation of Notorious BIG's hit Hypnotize. But BIG's estate intervened over the use of the late rapper's lyrics, forcing Black to rework the song with new words as Symphonies, the opening track here. His debut also seems to have got slightly ahead of itself. Like a modern-day Beck, Black is a brilliant genre-mixer, fusing hip-hop beats and synthesiser washes with a musical palette that stretches from Radiohead to Coldcut.