One of the greatest things as a music geek is stumbling over a new song by an artist when you didn’t expect it and then this song turns out to be the greatest thing you’ve heard in ages.
Dan Mangan is a musician I usually convert people to. It’s the Canadian Gospel of great songwriter-ship and no one has ever denied its brilliance.
After a few years somewhat off the grid (but not really, he was touring quite frequently) and apparently a rearranging of the band (and rearranging in his life, he’s a dad now), he returns as Dan Mangan & Blacksmith with the song “Vessel” which features on Simon Pegg’s new movie about a guy who wants to find some meaning in his life, well, it’s the Walter Mitty-scenario. BUT Dan Mangan wrote the score to that movie together with Jesse Zubot who is a virtuoso at the violin and played for basically every single amazing Canadian artist (he even played for Raffi, holy mother!).
I do hope that the Blacksmith-outfit does involve a certain Mr. Grdina (press texts indicate, that the band stayed the same, only the name changed, pew) because he is one of the greatest guitar players ever and is such an integral part to Mangan’s sound (I would say he is in the band though, given that the guitar sound on the song “Vessel” hints at genius).
(Apparently, Dave Grohl is somewhere in the backing vocals, just fyi)
Ok, to the song: YES! Dan Mangan goes somewhat Peter Gabriel-ish (ha, called it, he confirmed it in an interview) in the chorus and sheds a little the folky rock to take on a spacey voice of community and epicness. It’s absolutely gorgeous how the song evolves, how elements flow over each other, creating a big beautiful mess of sound which fits the best line of the song “it takes a village to raise a fool” – and this village apparently comes together in this song to create music. Mangan not only changes his musical style but uses his voice differently as well and when I listened to the first two seconds, I wasn’t even sure it was him singing – it’s one of the things that I love so much about songwriters like him, this want to not only create great music but also to see how far they can go with their vocal abilities and how much these can differ to change the sound accordingly.
It’s a thing of beauty and I already listened to it a dozen times even though it basically was released today. I can’t wait for the album. (that’s supposed to come out in Fall).
Dan Mangan’s new website is amazingly frustrating when it comes to orientation but I appreciate a good joke that sees itself through.
Editor’s note: The single is being released with another song which reels back on the epos and plays more with the space of sadness.