By Dan Schofield
Dan Schofield is a singer/songwriter from Leeds who used to front The Beat Marshalls but has now taken on a solo career in music. His first solo album 'Everything Human' was released on 30th March 2015 and is available from Amazon and iTunes.
Whispers From My Mirror begins with a very eighties backdrop but is quickly swept into the here and now with a gorgeous and vulnerable vocal and guitar lifting what is the simplest of songs. This is a good thing. It is a lovely first track that acts as a scene setter full of flourishing melodies and delayed reverbs. My Humble Home takes us down 'Americana Avenue' with a steady and well-written number that balances the tempo of track one. The melody is unique in that it doesn't follow conventional tendencies and this is very refreshing. The song develops with an airy and arpeggio filled bridge with a bluesy guitar solo that dances around until the song that started re-enters with its cheeky drum beat and catchy tune. The production is clear and precise throughout and that impresses a great deal when the third song District 10 begins. Now this song is a little braver and really presses my buttons. This is a great song! A bluesy skiffle-beat with a cheeky backdrop and wonderful honky-tonk piano begins to really inform the listener of the character of the album. Tom Waits seems an obvious influence here along with The Beatles and that is a very good thing. This song has a fabulous bass line which has a certain cheekiness to it that is maintained through the guitar solo and is joined by gorgeously chosen if not a little synthetic string parts. That doesn't spoil the song in any way... in fact it endears it all the more. When track four skips into my ears the direction of the album makes me smile. This is a very cleverly put together album and Shadows In The Park is a beautiful little ditty, more folky in style, that has a lovely shuffle on the kit whilst the vocals deliver a beautiful melody and lyrics that Guy Garvey of Elbow would be proud of. Bubble World is a loving, honest and simple song that has vulnerable vocals and beautiful string arrangements and hankering guitars... again stunning. This album is standing up as a catchy and well produced gem so far...
Open is a song with a different direction altogether for track six with Schofield choosing to up the production sounds further, using extra drum sounds and gorgeous piano and percussion on what turns into an epic arrangement of a song, that clearly means a great deal to the composer. This is a great song that shows a braver side and has some lovely musical moments throughout. Getting Colder is a cheeky and funky number that perfectly balances the previous track. This has a minor tonality with a funky acoustic guitar and sultry vocals that make you bob your head and tap your foot throughout. Strings then push the arrangements further before a euphoric and sunny chorus enters to cheer the coldest of souls. This is my favourite song on the album and ticks all of my boxes... fabulous song-writing! My Favourite Friend pulls things back as a moving and haunting song that is developed beautifully and understated all the way through. This is very good, as the song is stunning and does not need to hold any distractions. The chorus is catchy, pretty and hopeful which is everything it should be. Schofield is a very versatile composer and songwriter... and he knows when a recipe is just right... excellent work. Experience Me is a strong track nine and the anthemic influences of early Coldplay shine here with long delays and fabulous production and vocals again.
Everything Human is the title track and does not disappoint. This is a beautiful ballad, which is mixed simply and arranged with precise and excellent skill. This is a naked and stunning song that deserves its place as the title song. This is a heart on your sleeve master-piece. The building work and structures are fabulously written and the effort Schofield has put into this track is completely evident. I would say this is a definitive song that captures the flavour of the album in one. Poison, Lies and Boredom is a lovely penultimate track which has a fun feel and great song structure. The vocal is brave and vulnerable but Schofield pulls this off with grace. The last track gives us a perfect outro to this fabulous record. Anna Angel is a slow and glorious ballad which serves as a lullaby at the end of the album. Slowly building with piano and vocals sung in earnest... developing into a fully anthemic arrangement... this perfectly rounds off a brilliant album offering from Dan, and clearly shows off a mature and accomplished songwriter who is stretching his legs and showing us exactly what he is capable of... creating beauty. This album is highly recommended.