Dan - Thology
If you're a fan of Dan this double CD package is a must buy for you, over 60 tracks spanning 5 releases have been collected together for the first time. This really does contain everything ever recorded, including a live album and the band's Peel Session for Radio 1.
Dan were a prominent female fronted punk band from the 80s hailing from Darlington. Throughout this collection you can actually hear the evolution of punk through the decade, and hear how production styles and songwriting have changed. To lump this collection together as one entity would be wrong as the style changes throughout, not to mention the fact that there are three full albums on here, however this is what I'm going to have to do!
As a band Dan have an exuberant energy and charisma which is present throughout all their work. The lineup seems to have changed quite dramatically over the course of their long career and the music, whilst retaining a similar style, has got more catchy and less grungy. The majority of CD1 is raw, angry and fast paced. The vocals are always clear and tuneful even when shouted. You can clearly see how modern punk and hardcore has developed from bands like Dan, there are similar riffs and harmonies throughout, and the content of the lyrics: losers in love, losers in life, will always remain a mainstay of alternative rock. CD2 gets a little more mature in the musical style and the production techniques sound more modern, there's even some classic 80s synth hit sounds! Despite the difference in producers and studios, everything is well recorded and sounds clear and fresh. I was particularly surprised with the live album, which sounds like it could have been made in a studio: the band is tight and slick, not a beat out of place and all the vocals are clean and legible, modern bands take note! The bass player stands out for inventive and interesting riffs, which help to drive songs onward, the guitarists also keep fresh and speedy moving effortlessly from punk to ska to mock country and western-esque picking whilst always maintaining that punk edge.
As well as the exhaustive amount of music in this compilation, great care has been taken over the package as a whole. The 20 page booklet includes song lyrics, messages from the band, pictures and a list of every gig the band did, complete with notes! There is even a list of little known facts at the back, such as how much previous 7" LPs have sold for on Ebay and so on. Truly this is a great collection, it's a band's whole work and career encapsulated in two CDs, 20 pages of paper and some plastic. A must for any fan of Dan fans, or 80s punk enthusiast.