Album Review

Dan Israel Offers Sad Songs for Optimistic Individuals

Dan Israel - Dan

After nearly a quarter century of making music and more albums than can be conveniently be counted on two hands, Dan Israel deserves far more recognition that he’s attained thus far. Exceedingly heartfelt and clearly soaked in sentiment, his music avoids the usual maudlin touches that often plague others scouring in similar terrain. His new album, simply titled Dan, provides a summation of sorts, and in each of its tracks Israel exudes the tender yet robust melodies that have long been his stock in trade. While it boasts its share of weathered and weary reflections -- “Winter Is Coming” and “Two Bright Stars” in particular -- the vast majority of the offerings herein are upbeat, rousing and resilient. Even songs like “You Don’t Love Me Anyone,” “Lonely Too” and “Moving Day,” which succinctly bemoan the circumstances surrounding love and loss, come across with a drive and determination that belies any sense of strife or sadness. There’s an effusive underbelly propelling this material, and given the sweeping refrains and compelling choruses, it’s as energetic and effusive as any album in recent memory. These are the type of tunes that grab hold immediately, giving ample evidence of a genuinely skilled musical mindset. Ironically, the frayed cover art offers the impression that Dan has been plucked from a dime store bargain bin, and veteran record collectors might even get a chuckle out of the Kmart cut out sticker affixed to the back cover. No matter, Dan is both fresh and vital, a rousing encounter that substitutes mirth for melancholia.