Anti-folk band Daniel Versus the World released their album Remember Who You Are last November.
By Jane Howkins.
Daniel Versus The World is the side project of London based singer songwriter Daniel Stocker, accompanied by fellow band members Laura Ankles (drums/backing vocals), Carmela Pietrangelo (guitar), and Jaca Freer (bass). Remember Who You Are is Stocker’s first full length release, and is certainly stunning, especially for a debut.
This is the sort of sound that you expect from a sophomore effort at least, so there’s certainly praise to be had for Stocker, in terms of both music and vocals. His voice is strong and supple, able to bend to fit the song in any way needed. This can be heard most in Don’t Be Discouraged, where his vocal delivery wraps itself comfortably around his lyricisms, with a hint of a Tyneside accent shining through with the all the soft charm that such a lilt usually contains.
Stocker’s lyrics are also very interesting, with the album split quite evenly between personal and more political songs. This makes for a nice mix, and there really is something here for everyone. Opener Second Class Citizen makes an interesting point about who really runs the world, whilst lyrics about gender politics and love abound throughout the album, sometimes in the same song. It’s an interesting listen, and whilst Remember Who You Are is not so political as to put people off, there is enough here to give you something to think about, if you want to.
In terms of the actual music, Stocker’s style is piano based, with the focus on that and his singing, rather than the whole band. This is used to nice effect, with I’m So Fun having an especially addictive piano riff to it. Singer songwriter Tori Amos has been a big influence on Stocker, and this is quite apparent at times, especially on the last song Love Your Rage, Not Your Cage, where a dramatic exit is punctuated by some lyrics from one of her more controversial songs. It’s a great ending to a fabulous record, and we’re excited to hear more from Daniel and co. in the future!