I cheated a little bit on this one. I’ve been listening to this album off and on since April. It’s that good. In fact, it’s my album of the year…. so far.
The tour guide to this fever dream is Dan Cross. He has the vocals for it. Distinctly London, polite and dark, he delivers almost factually how he feels. There are no fancy metaphors here, at least not the phrases you will hear in his contemporaries. Dan lays it out as plainly as he can in an English accent, “Take me or leave me, please.” Just listen to the title track. It’s the first song, propping you up for an honest adventure.
The music is for anyone tired of new music. You’re going to hear Bowie, Floyd, and some Eels, and loads of unique sounds but nothing so unfamiliar it takes you out of an overall album experience. It is uncannily produced and well thought out. It is an homage to those old vinyls everyone our age loves. Dan wanted you to hear what he said, so he made it accessible and often soothing. The album is a whole, it should be enjoyed as such. Just listen to the stellar “Bowie-ish” production and suave intensity, the macabre rejoicing in “Death Song.” In a very stylish way, it’s what black leather jacket rock n’ roll is all about.
Dan lays it out as plainly as he can in an English accent, “Take me or leave me, please.”
Dan’s words are evident and unmistakable. I wonder if the statement in his music comes across as broadly. He’s saying write better songs. He even has them produced so you can hear every note, every instrument. And he’s defined and crafted his voice like the perfect violin that ties it all together. There’s little tricks all throughout the record on his vocals alone to make every word and note loud and clear. He is an artist who has found his voice, it just so happens to be his voice.
And what a voice it is! We are graced with someone who appreciates Gilmour and Bowie as much as I do. But instead of mimicking, Dan sings matter-of-factly from his mind. He doesn’t paint vivid landscapes with words. He offers us a battlefield, and picking a side comes up often. Some folks might not find it friendly, they probably haven’t made it this far into the article. Just listen to what I’m talking about with a true pillar on the album, Kings and Queens:
I respect it because it is an intellectual thing to do. It asks something of me. Virtually no media on the market today does that. It just takes my attention without asking. Dan asks me to stop and think. When I’m listening to him, even months on, I am thinking about what I think. He’s crafted something here that is not just an Atheist’s Anthem, it’s a free thinker’s one as well. We should all be grateful for such anthems. I know I am. -K
HERE is everywhere you can stream and download Atheist Anthems.