Sunday, 16 December 2012

Daniel Pearson - Mercury State

It has often been mooted that periods of austerity can spawn a burgeoning of creative talent directly involved in capturing the moment of the times in song. Woody Guthrie will always be associated as the voice of the Great Depression while closer to home Weller, Bragg and acts like The Specials rose to prominence as musical commentators on the British economic upheaval of the early eighties. It may be a touch premature to anoint Daniel Pearson as the spokesperson for the ongoing difficulties we are currently enduring but his second album MERCURY STATE is an excellent attempt to define the dark era that continues to blight individual’s lives.

Gritty, industrious and unreservedly melancholic, this 9 track 32 minute collection of original material will resonate with many and has the potential to launch a genre of austere, hard hitting singer-songwriter realism. In tune with the times by using minimal production, Daniel has successfully blended a range of guitar and keyboard sounds to his thoughtful lyrics to create a body of work that will meet the needs of folk, indie, Americana and country fans who yearn for a dose of real life, reflective truth in their music.
The album bursts into life immediately with the emotive acoustic guitar inspired ‘Factory Floor’. The song written like a plea of ‘why me’ repeatedly asks “what more could you want from me” and sets the tone for an avalanche of thought provoking numbers. The second track ‘Promises’ contains more electric guitar and a stance of attacking those who lead or more appropriately – mislead. The third song is a lovely ballad titled ‘I Still Believe’ with an effective piano intro and a slightly more positive message of clinging onto a chink of light.

The self explained title ‘Hard Times’ accompanies a more electro rock tinged track before the album’s stand out song appears, to define the message of the record. The metaphorically named ‘Rat Race’ may echo the Roddy ‘Radiation’ Byers song blasted out by The Specials in the summer of 1980 but in 2012 Daniel Pearson uses the metaphor to highlight family breakdown , tough times and re-possessions, all ironically supplemented by the line “raised as the son of a working man”.
Keyboards and guitar are once again mixed in the balled ‘All is Not Lost’ while the light indie rock anthem-like number ‘Medication’ calls for a little reprieve and a plea to give us a break. ‘Old Friends’ contains a hint of Americana while ‘Lights’ is the perfect atmospheric curtain closer with a touch of twang as Daniel seeks solace by “finding hope in simple chords”.

This is definitely a heavy release and not for the faint hearted but contains more depth than a lifetime of X- Factor wannabes. Shallow pop fans should steer clear while serious music connoisseurs should invest at least 32 minutes of their life in listening to the profound message of this recording.
                                          Daniel Pearson - Factory Floor

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