Daniel G. Harmann

Picasso Blue – “Risk” Review

“On his sixth (!!!) album, Daniel G. Harmann took a few stylistic chances, most of which pay off. With an album title so on-the-nose it’s almost ridiculous, Risk finds the singer/songwriter backed by the Trouble Starts, who add a slight influx of muscle to his melancholy tunes. The songs are still ethereal and folky in parts, but the Trouble Starts allow Harmann to branch out more.

Risk is an ambient pop record that fulfills a lot of needs. It’s otherwordly and dreamy enough to be a good 3 a.m. record, but it’s neither formless nor self-indulgent in being as such. Harmann is still a craftsman at heart, and these tunes have a focus – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. He just happens to let the songs breathe, like on epic numbers ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Estrella.’ In a way, the group is like a less countrified Band of Horses, or perhaps a less paranoid Radiohead. Either way, they’re a little like the Long Winters, which is fitting since TLW bassist Eric Corson produced the album.

That said, this record doesn’t quite have BoH’s way with a hook. Risk has atmosphere to spare, but the songs blur together after a while. Sure, that’s part of the point of the style. And Harmann even breaks up the lengthier passages with potential singles like ‘The Horse & The Sistine Chapel.’ But this isn’t driving music, or party music, of fightin’ jock music. Make-out music, maybe; sleep/sleep-deprivation music, definitely.”
– Picassoblueyo.Blogspot.com

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