In Washington State the Autumnal rainy season strikes almost immediately, summer becoming a distant memory overnight. The summer just passed becomes a topic approached in waves of nostalgia as kids bury their noses in homework and the big people go about their big people business. Those busy Fall days need a perfect soundtrack, and I usually reach for a Neil Young inspired, folk tinged kind of record. Last year my soundtrack was a mix of Neil Young himself, Honeychurch, Heyward Howkins, and Neil Halstead. This year I’ve been reaching for the debut EP from Dan Florio.
The sound of the EP is an accompaniment to those fall days where it seems like the summer sun is trying to hang on just a bit longer. Acoustic guitar, world-weary sighs, lyrics that resonate – it all swims together in a melodious stew. Dan recorded the album over the course of 3 days at a friend’s house in upstate Connecticut, with the goal of making an “honest sounding record”. If you take a look at the album cover at the top of this review, you’ll get a feel for what the music sounds like. Big Thoughts in a Small Place is a fitting title, a phrase that is distinct in what it says as well as what it doesn’t say. That space is to be filled in by the listeners imagination, of course. How to pick out highlights on an EP that is full of them? I’ll give it a try.
The EP is blessed with an opening 1-2 punch that’ll hook the listener right away. Clear as Day starts off simply, acoustic guitar & vox. As the song progresses, it reveals layers of beauty enveloped by melody and the wordless “La de da… ” bridge to the verses. The acoustic guitar solo is perfect. 2nd track Passerby has more of a groove to it, a bit of a 70’s feel to the proceedings. The chorus really hits you in the gut, in particular these words “Now we’re staring down the road / As time moves by we’ll take it slow”. Jessamine & Park is notable for its mandolin introduction and mystical vibe. It reminds me of something The Essex Green might have put out under their Sixth Great Lake guise (<—-hipster alert). I loved the title of the last tune, Abysmal Attitude, and luckily the song lived up to its wonderful title. Tribal sounding drums are thrown into the mix along with the acoustics and haunting vocals. I wish I’d thought of these lines, they are perfect “By a river with a haunting glow / I move silently beside it as it flows / With black bruises and a fractured soul / I’ll follow it, I’ll follow it back home”
You can catch up with Dan at his website, http://danflorio.com/. You can follow the links to his blog as well as the bandcamp site where the album is available for $5 for the physical copy or a “name your price” deal for the download. I can’t say enough kind words about the EP, make sure to pick up a copy!
Verdict: Clear as Dan
For Fans of: Neil Young, The Band, Neil Halstead, Sixth Great Lake, Guppyboy, Honeychurch, Heyward Howkins
- Clear as Day
- Jessamine & Park
- Brush it Off to the Wind
- So Sophisticated
- Letter and a Brick
- Abysmal Attitude