Dan Rauchwerk – We Are More Than What We Leave Behind

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

Dan Rauchwerk is a founding member of the Folk group The Lords Of Liechtenstein. On We Are More Than We Leave Behind, you can hear the sound of his band coming through, but there is a slower tempo feel to the songs with air and space in the arrangements. Dan’s voice is more resonant and richer on this his first solo album.

“Mrs McLaughlin” has the earnest edgy feel of one of those 80s Men They Couldn’t Hang ballads. Warmed with keyboards and accordion Dan’s vocal has a little of The Pogues sharpness and rasp. “Memphis” in the hands of Marc Cohen would be a soulful smooth pop, radio friendly slow song. Dan performs his song as a sharp strummed Folk song with a Billy Bragg barbed edge to the delivery. “It Just Is” deceptively simple arrangement with a strummed guitar. Dan’s voice, thoughtful lyrics and a trance like intensity is, achieved. Victoria, with Kyle Joseph’s Bass and Spencer Inch’s percussion has a kind of left field pop singalong quality. Like Al Stewart, Dan takes fact laden history and creates a punchy bouncy singalong song.

“Carthage”, like “Victoria” looks back, with a yearning but melancholic gaze at yesterday. Again there is an intensity, with Dan’s rich vocal, jangling piano and pulsing guitar, it put me in mind of the chamber nu folk of Americana musicians like The Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthems and The Great Lake Swimmers. “Tears Shaped Like Islands” is another intense album highlight. The crackling keyboards create atmosphere and the duet vocals by Dan and Caitlin Mahoney are simply stunning. “Alene” is an introspective love song with a bubbling Bodhran that makes the song pop. “Modern Day Explorer” like much of Dan Rauchwerk’s writing has that slightly surreal attention to detail which coupled with his distinctive but dead pan delivery reminded me strongly of those Gothic Americana masters The Handsome Family. Lyrically profound and thoughtful, like a mandola strumming Philip Larkin, he closes the album on the truism line that titles the album.