DAN MANGAN + BLACKSMITH – CLUB MEDS
Much-garlanded Vancouver folkie plugs in, to thrilling effect.
Singer-songwriter Mangan made his name as a beardy, acoustic-guitar-toting folk troubadour, but has rather expanded his palette in the four years since his last album. Not only had he co-written an orchestral film soundtrack (to Hector And The Search For Happiness), but LP No 4 sees him add some intriguing post-rock textures to his songs. Here the clawhammer guitar parts are played on woozy, FX-laden electric instruments, the rhythm section are propulsive, and each song takes on a widescreen shimmer. Standout tracks are “Vessel” (Blur-ish whimsey laced with free-jazz trumpet squeals) and “Mouthpiece” (urgent, atmospheric post-punk), but this is all very impressive stuff.
– John Lewis