More Or Less by Dan ManaganRelease date: November 2, 2018
Label: City Slang
As 2018 winds to a close, a certain characteristic, a label could be put on quite a number of releases that came out – bleak records for bleak times. Vancouver’s Dan Managan and his fifth album More Or Less seems to be here to prove the point. As he puts it, “More or Less is about witnessing birth, and in some ways rebirth. It’s about feeling disconnected from a popular identity and becoming acclimated to a new one. It’s about raising kids in a turbulent world. It’s about unanswerable questions and kindness and friendship and fear.“
But bleak is only a part of the story here, as Managan manages to shore up some hope. Hope for the better. On the other hand, bleak might be the outlook, but that doesn’t mean that it lessens the quality of the music and lyrics Managan came up with.
With More Or Less Managan proves that he has become an accomplished composer, yet another that proves that less is more actually, meaning that you don’t need to pile up notes, words and arrangements (too many instruments) to get your point across. Songs like “Just Fear” and “Lay Low”. for example, prove that keeping it subdued and simple usually is the better way to prove your point.
Managan says that during the sessions for the album he listened mostly to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. Lofty inspirations and Managan does them justice, in a way. And that way is the right one – taking inspiration and evading imitation. It doesn’t really matter who plays what here, it is all for the goal of making Managan’s music shine.
What is more, with More Or Less Managan proves yet another point characteristic of music or any art – simpler things are the hardest to do and achieve well. He succeeded, making yet another album that grows on the listener as time goes by. Excellent stuff.