Darren Hanlon

I Will Love You at All

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Australian tunesmith Darren Hanlon traveled to the wilds of Portland, OR to record his fourth album, 2010's I Will Love You at All, and for someone who literally traveled halfway around the world to make this record, he sounds remarkably at home on these recordings. I Will Love You at All was produced by Adam Selzer, who previously worked with M. Ward, the Decemberists, and She & Him, and he's an ideal match for the fusion of folkie simplicity and melodic sophistication that dominates Hanlon's songs; the arrangements and audio are clever and lively enough to keep the music compelling throughout without taking the spotlight away from Hanlon's voice and lyrics, which is where he truly stands out. Hanlon is a writer who is witty without forcing the laughs, and there are more than a few chuckles to be found in "Folk Insomnia" and "Butterfly Bones," but he also uses his humor to leaven the heartbreak of his carefully observed songs about relationships gone sour, such as "House" and "Scenes from a Separation," and on "All These Things" and "What Can We Say?" he can sound sweet and dour at the same time, charming the listener as he ponders the endless ways in which life can take unwelcome detours. Hanlon's voice, an unlikely but successful fusion of Billy Bragg and John Wesley Harding, is an ideal vehicle for his songs, and as curious details such as ice cream, Elvis Presley, lost jewelry, and sorting out old clothes pop in and out of his stories, he gives them the texture of real life alongside the careful structure of poetry. I Will Love You at All sounds simple and sweet on the surface, but give it a few spins and you'll be surprised just how deep this music runs, and how many flavors can be found; this is indie pop that's intelligent and thoughtful without sinking into navel gazing, and offers rich melodic rewards along the way.

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