Daniel Pearson - Satellites
The good thing that's first noticed on Daniel Pearson's debut album Satellites is that it doesn't sound like a debut at all. The world is hardly short of acoustic singer-songwriters, but Satellites gets a lot right to make it a stand-out record in an oversubscribed playing field.
Opener Masquerade is an intricate and understated start it's like listening to an old record that you've just rediscovered. It's calming and gentle and it's a nice balanced opener to introduce Pearson as an artist as well as a versatile, charming vocalist and Satellites as an album.
While the opener is a decent introduction it is Wishing Well that really grabs the listener. It's not as simple as Masquerade, sticking for a more energized approach with thumping drums reminiscent of Johnny Cash juxtaposing with the electric guitars and choral harmonies make it a track you can't put in one box. It's the inability to define it with one thing that makes Wishing Well the best on the album.
Tracks and Waves on the Sea appear to give off an idle impression, with simple lyrics that leave the listener no room for interpretation, unfortunately there's a sense of filler, which really reminds a listener that this is a debut and that Pearson may perhaps be iacking in ideas when it gets to this point.
Luckily the album picks back up again with fun rock 'n' roll number 4th July which, still gives the impression and similarity to that of Tracks it's just much easier on the ears. It's almost like Pearson is waving that American Flag to identify himself and it just becomes a little bit obvious what he's trying to do and yet still, the blend of his unique vocals and the involvement of the foot tapping beats makes it that little pick me up track that restores a little bit of faith in the album.
However, regardless of the little success of 4th July it appears as if Pearson is sticking to the same route as many before him. Civilians is that ever so popular track that talks of the celebrity culture we dream about but never quite get. It's a decent track, and it's not the biggest let down on the album, lyrically we see Pearson at his weakest and it's an idea and an inspiration that's been done to death and to bring it back we need to see something incredible, which unfortunately Civilians isn't quite.
Towards the end of the album,Satellite Town grants that personal touch that is missing throughout the entire album. It's nice to hear a track that just carries itself on the acoustic guitar without feeling empty and boring. Black and Blue is a fine track, showcasing exactly why we felt the way we did at the beginning of the album. It balances originality with imitation producing a track that's believable, fun and true of a debut album, something that's not quite perfect.
The penultimate track is a vulnerable lament with stunning guitar work that drifts into It's Been a While a final encore which builds upon itself adding a new layer to the original vocals and acoustic guitar before coming round full pelt towards the bridge before calming down and finishing, full circle, with a final strum to close the album. A beautiful finish to close a record filled with ups and downs.
It's not hard to say that Satellites certainly has some incredible tracks where in which we see Pearson at his ultimate best, stepping outside of the typical American singer-songwriter impression and creating something entirely his own, however there are some moments when it feels as if Pearson is trying too hard to conform to those pre-existing impressions designated to the American singer-songwriter generic conventions. Satellites certainly has its good moments and it's bad moments, and luckily the good definitely outweigh the bad and it's those good moments that remind you why Pearson is doing what he's doing, because at some points he does it amazingly.