DAN MANGAN: Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Nice, Nice, Very Nice was released on 11 August 2009 by File Under: Music and reviewed by Lauren Eldridge:
Those who are familiar with Dan Mangan know that his eagerly awaited sophomore album will be something magical. Dan’s performance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which earned him several “Favourite” awards on Backstage Vancouver, gave us a sneak preview of the album; Nice, Nice, Very Nice is nothing short of life-changing.
Dan easily falls under the category of folk music. With his acoustic guitar and remarkable songwriting ability, he is a rising star. His youth belies his gravely voice, but the introspective melancholy of Nice, Nice, Very Nice is tragically beautiful. Not every song is depressing, but the culmination of Dan’s talent, vocals, lyrics, and acoustic guitar is sure to break your heart.
The album opens with “Road Regrets,” then traipses through the three songs that were originally on his Roboteering EP: “Robots” is his definitive work, the one that is mandatory for live performances, and gang vocals that include local celebrities Lana Gay, Hannah Georgas, and Said The Whale; “The Indie Queens Are Waiting” is a touchingly sweet song accompanied by Veda Hille, who also accompanied Dan Mangan on stage at the VFMF; and “Sold” is Mangan’s musical commentary on modern culture.
The rest of the album feature new songs that are indescribably good. One of my favourite tracks, “Fair Verona,” is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet. It is a touching love song that accompanies a long story, one that I hope to glean in an upcoming interview with the man himself. “Tina’s Glorious Comeback” is a Vancouver-specific song about the systematic replacement of our old wooden bus stop shelters.
Dan Mangan’s music features escalating crescendos whose effects are downright epic. This is most notably heard in “Fair Verona,” but also in his crowning glory, “Baskets.” It is a song he wrote for his grandfather about the rather terrifying, but inevitable reality of losing your memories – the thoughts that make you who you are. I must admit that listening to the song in private makes me break down in tears.
Surprisingly, Dan chose to incorporate three of the five songs from his preliminary masterpiece, Roboteering EP. They are classic Dan Mangan songs, but don’t think that he’s changing his sound already. Nice, Nice, Very Nice is a long anticipated sequel to the EP, and is only supplemented by Dan Mangan’s previous work.
So “bus down to the local record store, buy something to make [me] like [you] more”; that is, Dan Mangan’s brilliant new album.
1. Road Regrets
3. The Indie Queens Are Waiting
5. Fair Verona
6. You Silly Git
7. Tina’s Glorious Comeback
8. Et Les Mots Croisés
9. Some People
10. Pine For Cedars
12. Set The Sails
*Photo of Dan Mangan by Jonathan Taggart: www.jonathantaggart.com