Highlights: Gonna Change, Love Will Kill You, What Are You Laughing About?, Gringo Go Home, Gap Toothed Girl
Since we’re past the stage when it’s too early to say: The Deliverance Of Marlowe Billings is certainly an album of the year. Nothing can change that. It’s a piece of rough, slow-burning beauty that only gets better with future listens. To me this sounds like a complete artistic triumph.
At this point in time Dan Stuart is primarily about pretty, emotionally-charged ballads which he sings in a voice reminiscent of both Tom Petty and Jason Pierce – but with a touch of good old gruffness. Lyrically, he is both desperately mature (the achingly gorgeous “Love Will Kill You”) and playful (“Gap Toothed Girl”, the album’s pop hit that never was and never will be) and melodically, well, melodically he is at his absolute best.
And I admire the diversity. Amid the poignant balladry Stuart has time for an anthemic rocker (“What Are You Laughing About?”), for catchy, bouncy pop (“Love So Rare”), for a sinister, C&W drama (“Gringo Go Home”). Mostly, though, it’s the sort of disarming, heartbreaking stuff that could have well ended up on Spiritualized’s latest. And considering the quality of Pierce’s latest – it’s hardly a bad thing.
Interestingly, I don’t really know much about Dan Stuart. While I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost Weekend LP by Danny & Dusty (collaboration with Steve Wynn), I don’t know his first solo record (The Deliverance is Stuart’s second), Can O’ Worms, and I’ve heard exactly one album by Green On Red (Gas Food Lodging). But this was a revelation. Just great songs covered in real-life drama. A high 8.