Album Review: Daniel Lee Kendall – Daniel Lee Kendall Is Dead (2014 LP)

I know what you’re thinking – that sounds like a really morbid name for an album. Honestly, I agree with you. Thankfully, the music contained within is anything but morbid. It is soothing and easy. Daniel Lee Kendall aka Daniel Forsyth has been off the radar for a few years. What a way to return.

What you can’t do before listening to this record, is envisage one genre. The breadth and depth of this collection of songs defies categorisation. From the distinctly African feel of “Angelique” to the electronica inspired “Lost In The Moment” all the way to the quintessential singer/songwriter track “From Him To Me To You”, this album is a journey both metaphorically and literally.

Daniel has spent the best part of the past three years getting lost in the Middle East, surfing in Sri Lanka and studying to be an English teacher. Add to that an unfortunate motorcycle accident and the suppression of his musical dreams and it’s no wonder this record sounds so damn good. With all that experience and emotion as the catalyst for the creation of these songs, neither the melodic influences nor the lyrical content come as a surprise.

For the most part, Daniel’s songs approach issues of human interaction and tackle existential dilemmas. This is a record about living. Most of it is observational and lighthearted with the lion’s share of the lyrics being dedicated to the age old pursuit of love. “Emptiness”, as a departure from that theme, is a keen analysis of the way we all experience the low points. I particularly like the line ‘full of emptiness’. There’s something paradoxically poignant about that.

Evidently, when pursuing his career as a teacher, Daniel parted ways with his life as a musician altogether for a time. Of course, the songs wouldn’t lay dormant forever and they found their way to the surface, manifesting themselves on this record. I tell you what though, I’m sure glad Daniel didn’t give up on making music. Because a more genuine collection of songs about the human condition would be hard to find.

Review Score: 7.2 out of 10.


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