Dan Webster – Devil Sky

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Dan Webster possesses a confident soulful voice, think Mike Scott of The Waterboys channelling rich Americana. “Play Cards and Late Night Bars” marries a Celtic lilt and violin with a driving tune and a punchy beat. “Home Again” is altogether more pensive and smooth. Dan Webster delivers a superb crooning Ryan Adams vocal, wringing emotion out of every note. Bo describes a, father and son’s journey through childhood. The whole track whirls and swirls with an infectious pulse, its opening is strangely reminiscent of Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere”. Emily Lawler’s violin stars on this track. Altogether more subdued, but beautiful for it, is the duet between Dan and Danni Nicholls on “Haul Away”. “Mary Anne”, “Freedom in Surburbia” and “Sand” with strong soulful vocals, ooze the gospel pop sophistication of The Hothouse Flowers. Picked mandolins and violin give an unplugged feel but Dan’s vocal and the classic organ sound just crackle with power. “Nothing at All” is plucked guitar, strings and a killer vocal from Webster, marrying power and vulnerability like Damian Rice at his most potent. Quiet fire until the end he vamps like a potent Moondance era Van Morrison on “Anyway”, subdued but smouldering with a longing beautiful fade. Lovers of the taut tension in the ballad moments of early Van Morrison, Ryan Adams or Damien Rice. Those who delight in those moments where bringing it down a notch raises the heat, building a soulful glow, will linger long here. There is much to be enjoyed when a long sustained simmer produces a rich concentrated sauce of richly flavoured delights.