When a super prolific songwriter has to cull their catalogue for a career compilation, leaving most of their carefully fashioned pieces on an effective second class pile, it must irk. Drew Danburry’s task of reducing his 400+ songlist to just 25 tracks must have been a true labour of love. The only real criteria would be to give an overview of his sound to potential new listeners, and presumably (and hopefully) make it accessible, because Danburry is diverse, disparate and often wilfully challenging.
Whilst essentially a singer and guitarist, all these choices have varying arrangements, moods, styles, lengths etc – to the extent that – if the unifying factor of Danburry’s keening voice was absent, you might think 25 different artists had made these tracks.
The major link between the songs is the intellect and thoughtfulness that Danburry seams through every lyric. His verbosity means most song titles are long, often dedicated and frequently given alternates, and repeating all of them would eat up most of the word count. The eclectic feel inadvertently reminds of The Magnetic Fields’ ‘69 Love Songs’, where Stephen Merritt came up with that many tracks, each of them unique. Every listener of that opus took different things away, with their own favourites (and discards). That feels like the right approach to this anthology. Give it a spin -every listener will find their own delights and scraps. Perhaps take a chocolate box approach – one listener’s orange cream will be a dark praline to another, but most of the box will be enjoyed. But do listen.
Drew Danburry put aside his music career to open a barber shop in Utah, but recently released an EP ‘Pallid Boy and Spindling Girl’, which he initially intended as a career coda. This led with ‘Mediocrity, for Micah Dahl Anderson’ a life-in-music summary of both beauty and self wisdom which may be his best work, and certainly is the highlight of this collection. That in trying to conclude his career might have brought his best work is an irony not lost on Danburry, and a new album is on its way. To quote Drew Danburry in his own third person, “he’s done a whole bunch of really impressive and super important things that you should totally be impressed by because he’s super important”.