Danielson "Ships" CD
Since the debut of his legendary audio senior thesis for Rutgers in 1995, Daniel Smith has been crafting an alternate universe where the most wildly subversive, joyous, and demented music in the non-secular world is filtered through a Christian viewfinder, albeit a decidedly skewed one. The success of Ships, the latest from the prolific, giant tree-suit wearing anomaly, depends entirely on the listener's opinion of the success of the Danielson empire. For years, Smith has hinted at gathering all of his musical brethren (Sufjan Stevens, Danielson Famile, Half Handed Cloud, Deerhoof, etc.) into the same room to celebrate the genre he helped popularize for a session to end all sessions. The resulting 11 tracks do not disappoint, striking the perfect balance between dissonance and melody with a backbeat that shakes the foundations of everything he's tried before. This is Smith's Led Zeppelin 1, 2, 3, and 4 all wrapped up into one giant boot stomp of a record, one that will no doubt please longtime followers and convert a few new ones into the fold. Lyrically, Smith is as colorful and incomprehensible as ever, trading childhood imagery for fluidity and astute observation for parable, with the notion of nautical camaraderie at its core. Standout cuts like "Did I Step on Your Trumpet," "Ship the Majestic Suffix," and the surprisingly straightforward closer "Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up" sound as communal as they read, and like every other song on the glorious Ships, they render the listener speechless. Highly recommended.
For fans of: Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective, Deerhoof