Cosmos Gaming – “Risk” Review

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“Seattle’s Daniel G. Harmann may primarily be a solo artist, but in recent years he has decided to expand his sound a bit and work with a full band. His backing band, called The Trouble Starts, provide a much fuller sound than before and enhance the mixture of styles that Harmann has chosen to utilize. The group’s newest effort, Risk, is a mixture of alternative rock, folk, and even a little modern psychedelic rock. It’s the type of disc that you have to give a few spins before it makes any sort of impression, but once you’ve given the album a little time you will likely enjoy it.

Risk has a lot of subtle elements that don’t come out the first time you listen to the album. While the focus of Harmann and his musicians is often on fairly laid back melodies that drive each song along, what listeners may not initially notice is that the material is all very textured and creates an enticing atmosphere. Admittedly there are a few tunes where it will take a few listens before the melodies really start to grab you, but when they do you’ll want to come back for more. What I also like about this album is the way in which it is able to mix the aforementioned genres together, as it gives Harmann and the Trouble Starts their own vibe. However, I do feel as though there is even more that the instrumentalists could do to further distinguish themselves and it will be interesting to see where they go in the future.

As you would expect from someone that started off as a solo artist without a backing band, Daniel G. Harmann has a great voice that often stands above the instrumentals and steals the spotlight. What I like about his voice is that he makes subtle changes to it to fit the instrumentals, always ensuring that his singing perfectly matches what the rest of the band is doing. In addition to this, Harmann has brought in some guest vocalists to give some of the songs melodic harmonies and this results in some larger than life moments that really stand out.

It took me about three times before Risk really made an impression me, but now that it has sunk in I can see myself returning to it again before the year’s end. While I can’t say that it will necessarily be anyone’s album of the year, those that give Daniel G. Harmann a chance will be pleased with what they discover. He’s definitely not an artist that can be lumped into one particular genre, and I expect that further down the road his material might head into a completely different direction.”
– Chris Dahlberg, Cosmos Gaming