Review: DAN BLACK // ((Un))

October 1, 2010

Bubble gum and peanuts.   Separately they are both tasty things that are fun to chew.  But when you combine the two, the texture in your mouth is quite … well, quite troublesome.  Dan Black (formally the frontman of British band The Servants) has replaced a live band with a laptop and a lot of hype.  He is best known for covering Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotic by mashing it with the drum beats from Rihanna’s Umbrella calling it HYPNTZ until the B.I.G. estate refused permission to use the lyrics forcing Dan to write his own and call the song Symphonies.

Symphonies ended up being the first track on ((UN)). Exhibit A: Bubblegum.

Dan’s attempt at blending hip hop influences with indie rock and electronica lacks focus and seems to be trying to please every type of hipster he thinks is actually listening to his album more than once. Trying to imitate all the hip singers (Beck, Robbie Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Chris Martin, Thom Yorke) ultimately makes him sound no one in particular.

This is a slick and well-produced album which shows that Dan does indeed have talent – which might trick some people into thinking this album is better than it actually is.  But regardless of catchy drum beats and funky bass on tracks like Alone & Yours, various samples & the subtle use of auto tune on Pump My Pumps, this album can’t be saved. Basic pop with polential but not very much soul. On Dan’s myspace page he lists his influences as only Sigur Ros & Jay-Z … Gum and nuts indeed.

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