Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Club Meds
Dan Mangan is a Vancouver songwriter who until now made his name on jaunty folk music influenced equally by the Beatles and the Prince of Doomed Troubadours himself, Nick Drake. His fourth album – and the first using the name “+ Blacksmith” ups the ante on maturity, remaking him into a sort of adult ambient experimental folk singer, like what would happen if Grizzly Bear stripped down and stretched things out into a drone. It’s all very serious and intense, playing with purpose and intent, but its 45-minute runtime means that “serious and intense” is coded language for “kind of boring”. It’s the same sort of instrumental build-up on every track, and the releases that are given aren’t always a just reward for listening. In some places – notably on the admittedly great one-two punch of “Offred” and “Vessel” – it works well, achieving an emotional resonance, but on too much of the album (especially the Radiohead-biting “A Doll’s House/Pavlovia”) it devolves into humdrum banality.
After covering both Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon in 2010 and collaborating on a multi-band reimagining of prog touchstone In The Court Of The Crimson King on 2012’s Playing Hide And Seek With The Ghosts Of Dawn, The Flaming Lips have embarked on a full-album cover of what is often hyped as the “Greatest Album Of All Time”, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. To say that it should be interesting is probably underselling it a bit.
The album, With A Little Help From My Fwends, will be out October 28th on Warner Bros.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out their winning full-album covers before, check out the examples below.