Championed by Danish post-rockers Efterklang, Canon Blue (AKA Nashville’s Daniel James) has impressed in the past with songs that are not afraid to mix beats with folk music. ‘Rumpspringa’ continues that methodology and has the distinction of being the last ever non-Efterklang release on the Rumraket label.
To pick highlights on this excellent record is not an easy task. ‘Chicago’ is folk music but with a colourful, ambitious arrangement that is reminiscent of the very early years of Badly Drawn Boy’s career. ‘Indian Summer’ plucks at the heartstrings with strings and glorious boy/girl hamronies for the chorus. ‘Velveteenager’ hammers home the beats but its message of romantic yearning is undiminished whereas ‘Fading Colours’ even finds time for some drum and brass. Not everything sticks and occasionally the idea that folk and electronica should not go together holds true but it’s hard not to be persuaded by the charm and warmth of James’s music and appealing voice.
In fact, ‘Rumpsringa’ is one of those independent releases where one wonders why the artist isn’t better known. The production and songs are rich in detail and easily marketable to the indie-folk fans. No matter, James will remain our closely-guarded secret treasure until the masses can appreciate him.
Badly Drawn Boy, Merz, Efterklang