Daniel Knox's Masterful Direction Makes For A Haunting Yet Comforting Listen
Nick Cave meets Bing Crosby, a darker John Grant, a baritone Damien Rice. There are many ways to describe Daniel Knox’s voice, songwriting and sound, but none of those comparisons capture what makes him unique and fulfilling as an artist today.
With his film composing background (collaborations with David Lynch included) and his tastes for golden age noir and the surreal, his songs play out like intricate fantasies, evoking cinematic cut scenes with sweeping pans and sumptuous, moody lighting. ‘The Venture’ builds like a script soaring through three acts before abruptly stopping, while ‘Blue Car’ and ‘Lawrence & McArthur’ are languid, cushioned pockets of strings and memories.
‘Incident At White Hen’ comes out of nowhere, with its soft-touched synths and military drum rolls, but when Knox’s haunting voice takes hold, lifted by orchestral strings, it feels more an evolution of the album’s sound rather than a departure.
Daniel Knox’s self-titled third album is a trip down memory lane, pulled along by the new understanding on youthful experiences that only age and wisdom can bring. There’s a yearning for childhood within the aching loneliness of these songs, but also a nodding, rueful acceptance of the past belonging in the past.
This is an album for listening to alone, sat in the armchair you barely filled as a child but now struggles to contain your weight, creaking beneath your slumped frame; every muscle relaxed by the soft pianos, massaging strings and Knox’s hypnotising vocals.
‘High Point Drive’ is another perfectly executed expression of sombre reflections and along with ‘David Charmichael’ are perhaps the slight choice cuts from a cohesive, sustained album. It is an album that plays like a slow-walking but important journey through his early life, watching the young Knox through the eyes of a ghost.
This is a beautiful album that is both haunting yet comforting, which feels richer on repeated listens once you engage with the lyrics and the nuances of the music. Daniel Knox has created work of assured quality and masterful direction, much like the movies that project in his head.
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@danielknoxmusic Words by Lawrence Pearce @lawrencepearce