In the Belly of a Whale

Danny Michel

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In the Belly of a Whale Review

by Jason MacNeil

Departed from Ottawa's Starling, Danny Michel fuses the synth of '80s new wave pop with the gnashing of guitars for an eclectic offering of highbrow lounge-like pop. Winding his way through some back-porch country tunes like "I Don't Wanna Hear It" is not difficult for the musician, given his tendency to go with the sonic flow. A couple of the songs suffer from a lack of self-editing, sounding as if they're perhaps a minute or a verse too long. What is noticeable, aside from the overall strength of the tracks, is how he feels extremely comfortable wearing so many musical hats. "Bones" is perhaps the pick of the bunch, despite the fact it tends to stall midway through, albeit briefly. The simple pop gems lie in songs such as "Down With the Ship," "Jonathan Gull," and the opening "Newton's Apple." There are a few clunkers in the middle of the album. "Beautiful Nothing" is a decent approach in the vein of Tom Waits, but isn't a good fit, while "Snowglobe" has a Daniel Lanois atmospheric quality to it which falters over the six minutes. The album is a bit rough, but there is enough of a diamond here to render Danny Michel as someone to keep a watchful eye over.

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