dan krikorian "colors and chords" review
A Word Can Paint a Thousand Pictures
Mark Fisher Music Blog reviews "Colors and Chords" by Dan Krikorian
(3.5 out of 5 stars)
Release date: October 7th, 2009
Members: Dan Krikorian (vocals, guitar) Brian Beach (drums) Mike Teague (guitar, ukulele) Jim Popov (electric guitar) Randy Querry (bass)
Lock On The Door
Colors and Chords is the second album from Orange County singer/songwriter Dan Krikorian and it's a nice evolution in the musical career of a young singer/songwriter expanding his skills and developing his own voice. If it's poetry you like and emotive storytelling that draws you in to songs, then this album will be right up your alley.
The album starts with Lock On The Door, an upbeat, smooth song with a decidedly "nouveau country" feel - due in part to some jangly guitar riffs and loose, shuffling melodies. As an album-starter it's a nice introduction to Dan's style, which can be described as a mix between The Pat McGee Band and Vertical Horizon (if you remember them from the late 90's) and more modern singer/songwriters in the lazy, West Coast genre like Jack Johnson. The melody on Lock On The Door is definitely a grabber and it was a great choice to start the album. It shows off the nice mid-range of Dan's voice and the excellent instrumentation that carries much of this album with piano, guitar, strings, and steel all mixing well together.
Bobby Jones follows and it tells the story of a musician searching to find his own voice and the ability to both express himself and help others navigate life's ups and down through the gift of music. It's a true singer/songwriter story and puts the the lyrics at the forefront over a catchy (but not explosive) melody, allowing the story to take center stage. When I first saw the title I wondered why he was singing about a 1920's era golfer, but quickly realized Bobby Jones in Dan Krikorian's world is a street corner musician. Although, it's quite obvious Bobby Jones is also a metaphor for the guide every musician needs to find his lyrical voice and confidence to tell a story. Words follows and it is a short, lyrically rich song about the need to communicate that is carried by Dan's emotive voice and very rhythmic guitar. The song has a beautiful melody that invites you in; unfortunately, it is almost too short to get truly invested.
Next up is my favorite song on the album, Sidewalks - a song that reminisces about lost love. It is a wonderful mixture of melancholy and hopeful, with sparse instrumentation and a focus on the lyrical melody. Dan's influences include both Joe Purdy and Josh Ritter and this song is the most Purdy-esque of the album, with its echoing drums reminiscent of Purdy's "The City" and melodies that hearken Ritter's "Wolves" in both sound and sentiment. The vocals fit perfectly with the low-key style of this song and move it along with skill.
The album picks up steam with Waste, Silence, and Tangerine Eyes - three songs that are expertly crafted and include some great instrumentation. Waste is a soaring song that blends string arrangements with piano and rhythmic guitars to deliver a story of trepidation and unease in handing your heart over to someone else. "Tell me time's the only thing that I'll waste," Dan sings as the song builds, adding layers of guitars and keys. Silence is next and it aptly starts with sparse instrumentation - just piano and drums - as Dan sings about the need to move on and free yourself from constraints and failed relationships. Tangerine Eyes pairs Dan with some nice female backing vocals (although i'd like to hear them more) and nice use of ukulele and steel strings. This is probably the most "LA feel" song on the album even if I can't accurately describe what that means. It's got a great sense of "struggling musician," late night vibes, and long drives. The song isn't even about those things (it's about trying to keep someone close when they've got their own agenda) but as Dan sings "saw you roaming free, I tried to fence you in," I am somehow drawn to that imagery.
Fixed On You follows and it is a truly catchy, innocent song; the kind you'd sing to yourself walking down a sunny street or driving on the open road. It's a simple story of being caught up in someone else (in a good way) and conveys the initial rush of that feeling through a great pop tune. In places it reminded me of The Weepies with its innocence in melody and radio-ready hooks.
The songs on this album are well-crafted and slide easily in and out of mind as you find yourself humming or singing along. This isn't an album that makes you stand up and exclaim 'wow, I've never heard anything like that!' but it is an album that fits snugly into your musical universe like a nice cup of coffee or warm bed. Dan's style lends itself to easy melodies (by easy I mean smooth) that allow the focus to be on the lyrics and the substance of the song. When the instrumentation picks up his vocal range isn't strong enough to truly rise above and stand out but it does drop in nicely with the more mellow, storybook songs on the album (in true singer/songwriter fashion). This album is perfect for a long drive or a walk along the beach; something that will let you focus on the stories being told and the emotion behind them.
Dan's CD's are available on iTunes and on his website.