Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Five Piece Pack #1: Darren Hanlon

If you were to introduce someone to the music of an artist they've never heard of, what five songs would you choose? Would they have to be their most absolutely essential tracks? Or just great songs worthy of note?

Welcome to my the Five Piece Pack, introducing the works of Darren Hanlon.

The thing is most people, outside those who were listening to Triple J around 2002-2006 would have heard of Darren Hanlon. He is a Queensland born, sometimes Sydney based singer songwriter who has a major way with words. I'm a sucker for great songs with lyrics that make me think, with clever imagery or with great rhythmic flow. Darren Hanlon routinely employs all these strategies and has come out with some lines that could be quoted throughout the ages.

"...Call it coincidence but whenever we're together you're on top of the world while I'm under the weather..."

"...I tried to tell crossword girl how do I get one across while you're always two down..."

"A kiss sent down a phone line can come out sounding like a bug being squashed..."

Granted some attempts fall flat, but are noteworthy for the attempt, like this one from "Punk's Not Dead":

"...in the morning she says 'Never Mind The Bollocks here's your cup of tea'..."

Musically, his songs are structurally simple and the arrangements are usually very sparse and dry; the effect being that the vocal isn't crowded out by excessive layers of instrumentation. The melody is plaintive but effectively for this sort of song.

While these songs may not be as cerebral as the Go-Betweens or as emotionally overwrought as Mark Seymour, I feel these are songs that deserve a wider audience. Darren is certainly an unusual songwriter in the his works are a lot less cookie-cutter than many others I could name, but at least they're not off-putting in an esoteric sort of way. They're quirky and slightly off-kilter, yet warm and inviting.

Check out Darren Hanlon for yourself below:

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