Drew Danburry “Besides: Are We Just Playing Around Out Here, Or Do We Mean What We Say?” (Independent 2005)
Ben Folds Meets the Prospective Messiah of Compassionate Indie.
Possessing possibly the shortest biography of any artist on the internet (which does however inform you that he’s very tall, a Leo and, er, a man), there’s not that much you can say about Drew Danburry the person – however, Drew Danburry the musician is indeed a fucking giant because “Besides: Are We Just Playing Around” is a stunning record in many different ways. Beginning with barely whispered Sparklehorse-esque vocals over background beats and Beachwood Sparks type moog noise, Danburry begins his musical journey of sometimes phenomenally well related gentle compassionate observations. Was Stevie Nicks talking bullshit after all 30 years ago? You kind of think that maybe she was when Danburry reflects “I feel better to have never have played than to have lost so much.” In the same track (“It Starts with Indigo, Orange and Green” – guaranteed there’s not a song title you’ll guess on the whole record) his voice goes into two layers, one of which sounds like a frantic Robert Smith when he earnestly almost shouts “Why can’t you just love me? Without you there’s nothing left…” Later on in the record the magnificently titled and penny whistle driven “It’s Illegal to Frown in Pocatello” challenges his subject with words that feel so cerebral but not clever for the sake of it that it’s almost alarming: “You surround yourself with mirrors, pointing outwards to reflect our faults so you can hide your fears.” The lyrics then are a big drive for the record, but as Ben Lee would put it, medicine always tastes nicer with sugar and the music itself is so nicely arranged and just so, well, melodic in a kind of Ben Folds way that it’s a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end. There’s even a centrepiece of well honed americana in the form of “Tree on Wheels.” Danburry is a fantastic talent, and even just one month in, the big discovery of this year so far.
Date review added: Friday, February 10, 2006
Reviewer: Mark Whitfield
Related web link: Drew Danburry Website