Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In today’s segment of the ‘Independent Spotlight,’ we delve into Daniel Angelus’ solo EP, ‘Dream Pop.’ Angelus is one half of the band ‘Surrender Hearts’ and is signed to the online indie label Black Tower Records. With a background of a troubled childhood, Angelus has devoted his musical endeavors to the improvement of youth organizations, mental health awareness, and a variety of other philanthropic efforts. So, he’s got his head on straighter than most.'
When initially immersed into Angelus’ music, one is immediately confronted with an interesting prospect: what kind of sound is this?! Angelus has constructed a brilliantly complex sound that is difficult for a listener to pin down. It has roots in an electronic genre, but also bleeds 1980’s synthesizers and droning vocals. The instrumentation of each track is top notch, and exceptionally well organized, with the synthesized beats reaching an excellent point of harmony with the cascading piano riffs. It’s also worth noting that the production value is apparent; this EP has been produced skillfully.
Again, the sound is complex. The orchestrations and musical stylings scream of an alternative electronic movement influence, something uncannily reminiscent of The Cure. It’s also a bit avant garde, even David Bowie-esque, especially in regard to Angelus’ vocals. At the same time, though, it manages to feel modern and fresh. It has the aura of a modern Coldplay record and the nostalgia of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes.’ That may sound like an odd combination, but in actuality, it’s quite excellent.
So, we’ve established that the musicianship is solid, and Daniel Angelus is David Bowie and Robert Smith’s love child. The production is something to write home about as well. Now, though, we need to take a look at the weaker side of the record, because there always is one.
This is the second independent record I’ve been sent this week and the second record I’ve been pleasantly surprised by. Most indie artists’ albums and songs are riddled with poor production and weak musicians. This record manages to escape from that demographic. However, it does falter at times. The vocals fall a bit flat every so often, and sometimes the lyrics are a bit awkward in the songs. The record also blends a bit - each song sounds eerily similar to the previous, making the experience blend into one twenty one minute song rather than six performances. As a result of this, it’s hard to choose the best tracks, because they all feel like one. Regardless, ‘Taste My Tears’ and ‘Capture The Dream’ are probably the highlights. The exit, ‘Killing Me’ is probably his most adventurous tune, and his most David Bowie-like track. His vocal experimentation in it echos a 1977 Bowie in every regard.
With that said, it’s a great little EP, especially for Angelus’ solo debut. However, his next step should be to plunge deeper into a more drastic sound, and perhaps be a bit more adventurous in his next outing. It’s an easy collection of songs to enjoy - they don’t make you think too hard, and it’s great background music to just about anything. Angelus’ has talent, and he exercises it well. I’m interested to see what happens when he breaks out of the bubble a bit more.
To stream ‘Dream Pop’ in its entirety, visit the Soundcloud link below:
Below are Angelus’ website, Facebook and Twitter. Go connect with him!