Release Date: Aug 18, 2014
Record label: The State51 Conspiracy
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Written in the wake of his divorce, Dan Michaelson’s fifth solo LP since disbanding Absentee in 2008 finds him trying to quantify heartbreak: feeling the weight of a phantom embrace, pinpointing the moment when “love [runs] cold after crackling through your bones”. He’s a beautiful lyricist, never self-pitying nor prone to blame or cliché, but the truest note he and his Coastguards strike is that despairing feeling when your heart becomes a stuck anchor dragging through the murk. Michaelson’s oaken, hefty voice is flecked with creaks of optimism, while the band slump elegantly into their forlorn Americana, to stand proudly alongside the likes of Bill Callahan and The National.Laura Snapes .
Dan Michaelson has made a bit of a miniature masterpiece in Distance. It's just 30 minutes long, comprises only eight songs, and has a sonic palette that stretches little further than pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, brushed drums and occasional strings. Atop that sits Michaelson's voice, veering between a croak and a croon. It's a heartbreak album, stately of pace and downcast in mood, but it never feels depressing.
“Only fools think love is evergreen”. There’s no messing about with mood on Distance. The sentiment is unforgiving on opening track “Evergreen”; yet with a voice that reassures like solid wood or the peaty, antiseptic smoke of a good single malt, Michaelson somehow manages to comfort with the stark realities he’s singing about here, and elsewhere on this staggeringly good record.