Written by: TL on 18/03/2009 12:54:58

While I realize that this review is more than a year late and that its subject has very little to do with 'rock' in the classical understanding, my listening to Daniel Hunter and his debut album under the PlayRadioPlay! moniker has convinced me that even in spite of all that, he's worthy of some free praise and promotion from my hand.

Daniel's first album, called "Texas", is a collection of songs that he has written and recorded entirely by himself with little more than guitars and synths creating the soundscape. The songs are pretty straightforward pop/rock songs, only distinctly electronically sounding and as such there's nothing really special about their format. What there is something special about is the vibe which emanates from every single song. Daniel's songs are all down to earth, topics ranging from everyday romance to lacking motivation to go to school, but when he sends them your way with the sensitivity of Death Cab For Cutie (or maybe The Postal Service, given the electronic context), the young spirit of Hellogoodbye and the cheeky faux British accent you'd suspect the young Texan of stealing directly from Pet Shop Boys, then it's hard not to be taken in by them.

The perfect example is "I Am A Pirate, You Are A Princess", the lyrics of which are so naive and charming that they'll easily disarm most cynics at track two, but really the song is easily rivaled in quality by the sweeping dynamics of "Some Crap About The Furniture" as well as by the remainder of the album's starting four, namely "Loco Commotion" and "Madi Don't Leave". Other highlights come in form of "I'm Afraid I Have A Hole In My Brain" and "My Attendance Is Bad, But My Intentions Are Good", and given how they've now made me mention half the album's tracks as being good, it's already going to be pretty hard for the overall product to fail.

The cool thing about these six songs, is that they simply catch on instantly. From the first time you hear the chorus in either of them, you'll be ready to sing along the second time it comes along, and this is accomplished without the usual feeling that it's going to cost the songs their longevity. This is first and foremost because PlayRadioPlay! never seems like the kind of project that tries to sell you something. It is obvious from end to finish that Daniel's songs are entirely his own, that his heart is in them and that whether you like them or not is besides the point. The songs and their meanings are simply what's focused on, rather than experimentation or catchyness, which seems to usually be the case with electronica projects if you ask me.

As for the remainder of the album, those songs are by no means failed endeavors that drag the others down, most of them are simply more floating atmospheric pieces that don't grab as vigorously at your attention, and thus they're more suited for you to sit back and chill to, rather than dancing and singing along. Nevertheless they're just the other side of a spectrum which is wholly enjoyable, and in a scene that's getting dangerously watered down by your Cash Cash's and your Breathe Carolina's of the world, PlayRadioPlay! is an unusually solid, honest and engaging alternative for all those in the market for some light electronica. One that you would be stupid to miss out on, given how it would probably be a perfect soundtrack to your spring and/or summer.


Download: "Some Crap About The Furniture", "I Am A Pirate, You Are A Princess", "Madi Don't Leave"
For The Fans Of: The Postal Service, Hellogoodbye, Pet Shop Boys

Release Date: 08.03.2008

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