Daniel Marcus Clark is a musician, composer and writer currently based in Bath, England. Originally training in Jazz and Storytelling, Clark went on to create a quartet called The Hat, who signed to Rob Da Banks Sunday Best records. The band disbanded in 2012 and he began to build more of talent as a composer. Clark recently released I've been thinking which is a nine-song album. Clark mentions “Using a simple, classic color palette, I've been thinking draws inspiration and influence from a variety of 21st century songwriters - from Leon Redbone to Leonard Cohen, from JJ Cale to Blake Mills and Timber Timbre. The album moves from light to dark to light - from rolling fingerpicked guitars, plucked double bass and Wurlitzer piano to thick, dark minor pieces.”
This album has a raw and organic quality that feels easy to relate to. The acoustic instrumentation creates a warm and inviting texture that is in similar company to an artist like Nick Drake. The album starts with the title track “I've been thinking” which is very minimalistic that puts guitar at the center. It’s serene and peaceful sounding. “Ode to this life” creates some movement with some fantastic string picking. The vocals come in and I liked the delivery right off the bat. Clark sounds relaxed and has a deep baritone. The artists M. Ward and The Tallest Man on Earth felt like reference points here. The bass sounds great as well.
Clark’s baritone is in full effect on “Ancient Rome.” The deeply emotionally resonant song has a tinge of Tom Waits at least in the terms of the vocals. I loved the distant strings on this song and the electric piano feels incredibly warm. The lower mids are so easy on the ears. This is a fantastic song and a certified highlight to my ears.
“High on a hill” is a little more melancholy and I have to say Nick Cave came to mind here. The atmospheric elements combined with the sense that this song was coming from a sense of pain. That being said, it's also quite beautiful. “Lost Twin” is haunting and feels cinematic. I felt like this song creates a sense of tension.
“The Water” has more of the bluesy quality I wasn’t picking up on with the previous songs. I loved the sense of danger here and some of the southern gothic qualities. The orchestral strings are used beautifully against the guitars. Clark hits it out of the park with the vocals.
The guitar picking on “You” is absolutely beautiful. I loved the sense of gratitude I felt when listening to this song. “Shine” sort of continues with this sentiment although there is this sort of playful sensibility with the song that feels very joyful and in the moment. “Goodbye” ends with where the first track left off and puts a tight knot on this release.
I loved this album. The songwriting, delivery and cohesive qualities come together. There’s a gamut of emotions Clark explores but nothing feels too heavy and off base from the foundation. What a gem of an album. Highly recommended.
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