Review: Daniel Halliday – First Signs

Daniel Halliday first came to prominence in 2005 with his wonderful Motodestra album. Its pretty, melancholic guitar melodies echoed the majesty of prime-period Durutti Column. Since then there has been just one good quality acoustic EP but his latest release is credited to his own name for the first time. Recorded in just a week, without overdubs and often improvised, ‘First Signs’ could be perceived as a risky move but Halliday makes a mockery of these constraints with a hugely atmospheric record.

‘First Signs’ is undeniably slower and more downbeat in its approach. ‘Suspend’ uses layers of guitar patterns and effects which blend hypnotically into each other; it speaks of lonely deserts and barren wastelands. ‘Abstracting A Void’ quickens the pace to a ramble across the American West whereas ‘For Sundays’ is perfect listening for looking out on to miserable, autumnal weather. Characterising the strong mid-section of the album, ‘An Absence’ is achingly gorgeous whilst ‘A Spark Reveals’ shows he hasn’t shed those Durutti Column comparisons just yet.

For ‘First Signs’, Halliday has expanded his oeuvre to encompass rich, soundtrack-worthy compositions. In turn he is becoming more like West Yorkshire’s Ry Cooder rather than the next Vini Reilly.

Web Sites:
Daniel Halliday’s Official Site
Daniel Halliday’s MySpace

Further Listening:
Durutti Column, Ry Cooder

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