Nathan Xander & Witchouse

John Wayne / Darkness

Written by: TL on 05/01/2011 01:01:43

You know what's useless? Singles are useless! I mean really, if you like a song, aren't you more interested in checking out the artist's album, getting a more detailed picture of what they're doing at the moment, than in either replaying their single again and again or throwing it away and moving on? Of course you are, that was a rhetorical question, and if you actually answered it and answered negatively, get the hell out of here, you're no fan of music.

Now, I realize that label people could probably list a number of economical and promotional reasons for singles to exist, so forget about that, I'll tell you what's even more useless: Sending in a single for review! Especially so when the song has already appeared in a review of your album. I mean, what am I to say about it that I haven't already in the album review?

Fortunately for Chicago songwriter Nathan Xander, his 'single' features two songs - so that means everything is okay.. (which is why I just spent two paragraphs ranting, just to make this review look substantial from a distance). There's "John Wayne", a highlight of Xander's album "The Fear", and then there's "Darkness" a song off the man's older, self-released "Swiftly, Surely" Both songs have been re-recorded with the aid of a band called Witchouse, but from what I can hear in "John Wayne" at least, nothing much have been changed.

That means Nathan Xander sounds more or less like he did on "The Fear", and that is like a modern interpreter of music alá Bob Dylan, a lot like Ryan Adams, but in my opinion just not quite as good yet. Twangy guitars and simplistic drums are almost entirely the make-up of "John Wayne" while "Darkness" has more subtle touches of various typical country instruments.

I remember highlighting "John Wayne" as the song to listen to off "The Fear", and I want to do the same thing here, because the song just has much more mood than anything else I can remember hearing from Xander, and that includes "Darkness". His stuff is generally convincing and enjoyable, but hardly ever as engaging as either Dylan or Adams.

And that's about what I have to say about a two song disc. I don't mean to be an ass to Xander or to Deep Elm Records, whose artists I often find enjoyable, but in all honesty two songs isn't a whole lot to judge an album by, let alone write a review about. Generally I'd ask all bands and labels to think twice about sending anything shorter than four songs, especially so if we're not talking about new material. What happens is that our editor is going to demand for them to be reviewed, and then I'll resort to writing gibberish for X paragraphs, even though I only have enough impressions for a few lines. Lines just like these: On "John Wayne / Darkness", you get the best song off Nathan Xander's "The Fear" album, and a decent song off his "Swiftly, Surely" album, and I guess that deserves about a:


Download: John Wayne
For The Fans Of: Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams
Listen: Nathan Xander @

Release Date 01.10.2010
Deep Elm Records

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