Dan Michaelson – First Light

On the evidence of First Light, Northampton’s Dan Michaelson isn’t the sort who leaps out of bed to greet the day. His seventh album (two solo, five with the Coastguards) concerns itself with that first moment of consciousness, and his weary voice sounds suitably hypnopompic. Indeed, there are echoes of Bill Callahan in his delivery, the sense that his measured baritone could imbue even the most mundane line with emotion. Arnulf Lindner’s orchestral arrangements are a subtle delight, meanwhile, violins, cellos and violas beautifully framing Michaelson’s at times almost positive lyrics. If there’s a criticism, it’s just that too little distinguishes one song from another.

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