Dan Mangan has become a familiar name in Canada over the past few years, due to the compounding success of his second and third albums, Nice, Nice, Very Nice and Oh, Fortune, respectively, and his continual touring across the country. In the past, Mangan has been known as a charming, totally-normal-guy folk singer. On his fourth record, Club Meds, Mangan takes a bold step towards expanding his work into darker themes. Club Meds is officially credited under Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, signifying a full collaboration between Mangan and his usual, but newly named, backing band—and it definitely shows. The arrangements are more elaborate: looping synths, roguish strings, damp brass instruments and shakey guitars all resonate through a chamber of electrified fog. On occasion, the album feels disorienting, but austere and deliberate at the same time. Club Meds features a moodier, more insightful Mangan; he is patient with his contemplative words, and the pop hooks are a bit more subtle than we’re used to. However, multiple listens bring out the nuances of the record, showing the immense growth of Mangan’s craftmanship. Mangan’s latest record is his most inspired and rewarding and marks his exit out of the conventional CanCon-folk circle into a broader musical realm.
Dan Mangan + Blacksmith
Arts & Crafts