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Dan Black - Un

Dan Black, Un

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DAN Black has been hailed as pop’s bright new hope by everyone from Zane Lowe to Perez Hilton and was a regular feature in the 2009 One To Watch polls.

His debut album, Un, confirms that he’s a very special talent indeed. A collection of upbeat pop symphonies that make good use of synths, beats, soulful vocals and guitars, it’s a fantastic listen that delivers in spades.

Paris-based Englishman Black first came to IndieLondon’s attention when he dropped Yours last year, a propulsive, electro anti-love song that makes an immediate impression for all the right reasons.

With a kick-arse back-beat, snappy guitar riffs and a soulful set of vocals, the track was an instantly addictive crowd-pleaser that really marked Black out as an artist to watch.

Then came Alone, a disco-punk, bass-heavy dancefloor filler that certainly boasted crossover appeal, as well as most recent offering Symphonies, an out-and-out pop classic that fused the ubiquitous beat from Rihanna’s Umbrella with heavily chopped-up samples from the film soundtrack of John Carpenter’s Starman. It was, like its PR suggested, a perfect, effortlessly joyous marriage of laptop hip-hop with tip-top hip-pop.

The remainder of the album tosses in just as many memorable offerings. Cocoon is brilliant, a catchy, low-key offering that talks of being wrapped around someone’s fingers, and boasts a sing-along chorus to die for.

The kick-ass back-beat and high-energy synths of U + Me deliver another compelling listen that’s high on energy and romanticism, Ecstasy boasts another fantastic beat and some cool vocal layering that builds to a breathtaking chorus, and Cigarette Packs places falsetto style soul vocals over a tick-tock beat and ambient synths to ultra-pleasing effect.

The album doesn’t run out of steam, either. Life Slash Dreams is, for once, a great Ibiza comedown track complete with Georgio Moroder-style synths and a fabulous beat, while the celebration of living that is I Love Life drops one of the most scintillating back-beats on the LP and is tailor-made for getting you sweaty on the dancefloor.

And finally, Let Go offers a trip-hop beat, some lush piano and some striking guitar riffs [late on] to ease the album to a reflective, comedown kind of close that’s equally mesmerising.

Dan Black has delivered one of the pop albums of the year. Don’t miss it.

Download picks: Symphonies, U + Me, Ecstasy, Yours, Cigarette Packs, Life Slash Dreams, I Love Life, Let Go

Track listing:

  1. Symphonies
  2. U + Me
  3. Ecstasy
  4. Alone
  5. Cocoon
  6. Yours
  7. Pump My Pumps
  8. Wonder
  9. Cigarette Packs
  10. Life Slash Dreams
  11. I Love Life
  12. Let Go