Last year, Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltry released ‘going back home’, an amazing collection of powerful R&B tunes that seemed to run right through you. That album’s highlight, arguably, was the amazing ‘Ice on the motorway’ which cruised on an effortlessly funky, scratchy guitar riff and which threatened to tear you to pieces if you didn’t leap to your feet and boogie. That is where Dan Patlansky’s album starts, and from there it only gets better. A funky, bluesy, hard-rocking blast that mixes up Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa, Dr Feelgood and Queens of the stone age, albums don’t come much bigger, bolder, sexier and more exciting than ‘Dear silence thieves’ and whilst this may be Dan Patlansky’s seventh album, it has the resonant urgency of a debut. Named for the ignorant a*****es who talk loudly throughout gigs (I’m right there with you Dan, why the hell are they there?) believe me, you need this album in your life.
‘Dear silence thieves’ opens with the unfeasibly brilliant ‘backbite’ a song that oozes confidence. It’s the aural equivalent of the millionaire walking into the hotel, cocksure, stylish and aware of the electric effect their mere presence has on the room and it sets a cracking pace. Andy Maritz plays drums like a man possessed, laying down a massive backdrop upon which Dan can paint his picture whilst Clint Falconer adds the funk with his driving bass lines. The final piece to the puzzle is Theo Crous whose keyboards give the piece its Led Zeppelin feel and the whole is just too exciting for words. Things take a bluesier turn with the mid-tempo ‘Pop collar jockey’ with its huge, Hendrix-aping guitars and Dan’s scratchy, gritty vocal floating over a heat-haze of echo. It’s traditional blues rock given a modern production sheen and if the first song didn’t have you absolutely captured, by the time this one’s concluded you will be. It’s hard to say what impresses the most. Certainly the playing is world class, but I think it’s more a combination of the blood, the sweat and the tears that have so obviously gone into the composition and as you listen to Dan’s voice slowly break, you realise that this is an artist who is pouring everything he’s got into this dizzying collection of songs. ‘Fetch your spade’ is Hendrix channelling Zeppelin with its stunning central riff and harmonised vocals and you can’t escape the feeling that Dan is at home with the blazing alternative rock of the likes of Soundgarden as he is with the back catalogue of Cream and there is no question that he does hard rock with the best of them even whilst the blistering riffs unleashed here do remain comfortably tethered to the blues. Sharing something of a spiritual connection to ‘when the Levee breaks’ with its lazy, hypnotic beat, ‘Hold on’ is a shimmering piece of music that sees the album settle into a more somnambulant groove, all whiskey-soaked licks and gentle regret. Where the previous tracks blaze with feverish energy, ‘hold on’ unveils a more sensitive underbelly, well hidden but still capable of taking damage, and some of Dan’s most sublime work is found on this understated gem. Coming on like the whiskey-soaked bar band that pack out the room and steal the women at the end, ‘taking changes’ is a gritty workout soaked in sweat and redolent of stale beer. The guitar work is fluid, the band on fire and the recording gloriously gritty, and if you’re not moving by the time it concludes, your condition must be chronic indeed.
A quiet, beautifully contemplative song, ‘windmills and the sea’ is Dan at his most reflective, tapping into a similar muse that inspired the Kings of Leon but without that band’s overproduced lack of subtlety, and the result is a song that should, by rights, storm into the charts in any and every country in which it is released. Packing a harder punch, ‘only an ocean (reprise)’ is a staccato piece, laden with soul and recalling Gary Clarke Jr’s similarly eclectic work. A slow-building number with some wonderful, Gary Moore-esque solo work, ‘Your war’ is a powerful, heart-felt piece of late-night blues that threatens to take the breath away, only to be followed by ‘feels like home’ which does exactly that with its dirty groove and throbbing bass. This is blues at its most down, dirty and sensuous and it taps into the same primal urges that made Led Zeppelin international rock gods whilst the guitar playing here is beyond stunning. The album ends with ‘Madison Lane’ a beautiful acoustic lament that is as close to the quieter work of Pearl Jam as it is to Eric Clapton. It’s a beautifully heartfelt album closer and it brings the record to a graceful and poignant conclusion.
When you review music as a hobby it tends to take over your life whether you mean it to or not. With difficulty cynicism is kept at bay because you are simply exposed to so much music (both wonderful and otherwise) so when an album comes along, by an artist you have not previously encountered, that makes you want to dance around the kitchen (believe me, it’s not a pretty sight) you sit up and take notice. Dan Patlansky’s CD arrived Saturday and it has been in the player ever since, soundtracking my moody mornings and energizing my lengthy nights. It is a great, ballsy, beautiful, bruising and bruised record that is impossible to ignore. The hooks are irresistible, the musicianship incomparable and I have every intention of tracking down Dan’s back catalogue on the strength of it. It somehow crams the whole mind-blowing gamut of blues related music into its slender frame and the result is an album that genre hops beautifully whilst still managing to sound cohesive. The power and precision of the playing, the wonderful production and the fiercely human heart beating at the album’s centre all make this an essential album for any music fan. Don’t let it pass you by.
DAN PATLANSKY “ALBUM LAUNCH SHOWCASE CONCERT”
THURSDAY 27 APRIL 2015
Tickets: £17.00 / 24 Hour Box: 0844 478 0898
Book Online: www.thegigcartel.com