By Daniel Pearson
Listening to Daniel Pearson's debut Satellites doesn't feel like listening to a debut at all. The world is hardly short of acoustic singer-songwriters, but Satellites gets a lot right to make it a stand-out record in an oversubscribed playing field.
Opener 'Masquerade' is an intricate and understated start, like listening to an old friend of a record, not a first effort. It's gentle and it takes you by the hand in a familiar and reassuring way, compounded by Pearson's warm and charming vocals. That's not to say that the rest of the album remains in a safe place; indeed, one of the things that is most striking about Satellites is how varied and wide-ranging it is. Attempts to pick a stand-out track result in being drawn through most of the record: the alt-rock stomp of 'Wishing Well', the lightness of Candy Hayes' vocals on country-tinged 'Tracks', the magnetic delicacy of 'Satellite Town'. '4th July' and 'Waves in the Sea' are lyrically obvious in places, but there's no doubting that Satellites is the assured production of a songwriter who knows what he's doing.
There's no getting away from Pearson's influences at any point, but this doesn't make Satellites a copycat record. Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Elliot Smith, rather than lazy comparisons, are reinterpreted in a fresh and thoughtful way. It's an absolute pleasure to listen to, and evidence of impressive song-writing talent.