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Review: Daniel Stephen Turner – Always

The contrast between this release and Daniel Stephen Turner‘s previous releases, Next Year and Lust and Intrigue, in how they’ve come together is pretty big – the previous releases were produced as full band, big sounding, songs whereas this record takes a more DIY, lofi, approach. It generally works well; the songs, more sparse, allow the emotion in Daniel’s voice to take centre stage, there’s nothing to take away focus from the voice and the acoustic instruments.

Try is a brave track, a spoken word poetic piece over the sound of an acoustic bass opening the track over a subtle soundscape, the second half more instrumental. It’s not how I’ve heard Dan before and it’s certainly an unexpected twist in the middle of the record – I found it enjoyable!

Ohwhy? is a good example of where the lofi production works well; the main thing driving this track are the nuances and the emotion heard in the vocal, which in a full band context would risk getting lost behind bigger sounding guitars and drums. On the other hand, Always works well with the additional production that’s been added – the horn type sound backs the vocals up well. Perhaps that’s a song where a full band approach could work well.

Overall this is a bit more personal and a quite a bit more experimental than his previous releases, both in terms of the way the music has been produced and in the way the CD has been packaged, creating unique items (there are a couple left on bandcamp!). I think there’s merit in both ways; the energy of the more heavily produced tracks is great but the emotion stands out better here. The way Daniel has experimented with this release is excellent, the inclusion of Try a real high point in an already good EP.

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