Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2011-12-09

Canada's Dan Mangan delivers his third album in time for Christmas amid the endless best-ofs that fill shop shelves. Much like the season itself, it's a mix of cheer and glumness (usually as a result of too much cheer) which serves up an interesting album of two halves.

The first, jolly, sees Mangan deliver some confident little gems. Whether it's the sweeping waltz of opener

or the poppy title track, Mangan's clearly one for enjoying himself. The call-to-arms on 'Post-War Blues' signals as much with Mangan declaring "Let's start a war for the kids, a purpose for which to unite," while the rockier 'Rows of Houses' and cheery 'Jeopardy' evoke a sense of fun; the latter full of soothing jazz.

However, the quieter moments, so often a singer-songwriter's signature call, fail to provoke the same level of enjoyment. 'If I Am Dead' might as well be, while 'Daffodil' is hampered by an odd level of reverb which lends it an apocalyptically gloomy feel. Thankfully, the Richard Hawley-esque

is thoroughly thoroughly likeable in a sort of Ray LaMontagne kind of way and ends up as easily the best thing on the album as it builds to a lovely brass conclusion.

An interesting set of songs, then, which means that you'd be no fool to buy Oh Fortune.

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