Angel Air Records (label)
04 May 2015 (released)
04 May 2015
Danielz, the enigmatic frontman of hugely successful T.Rex tribute band T.Rextasy, never fails to surprise and it is no different with this solo effort which he recorded at the end of the 1980’s. The album features some marvelous tracks, some in instantly recognizable 80’s fashion and others with an unmistakable nod do Marc Bolan. Just as impressive as the songs is the stellar cast of musicians that was assembled to record SOME ROMANTIC NIGHT.
According to chameleon Danielz, the reason why ‘Some Romantic Night’ was chosen for the album’s title is because the majority of songs are a step away from his past rock roots, especially after his previous band Tarazara had disbanded. Well, the songs might be a step away from Danielz’ past rock roots but there is still plenty of rock influence to be found here, with a generous helping of soulful harmonies a-plenty!
The impressive line-up of musicians includes Tom & Tim Farmer (Blackfoot Sue), Paul King (Mungo Jerry), Lindsay Bridgewater (Ozzy Osbourne Band), Martin Dobson (Eurythmics), Ced Sharpley (Gary Numan) and Steve Mann (Andy Scott’s Sweet).
Opening track ‘Woman In The Gallery’ is a real smoothie with a smouldering intro that promptly gives way to synth-pop beats and it makes for a great song. The superb sax solo, courtesy of Steve Mann, adds to the rich texture. Whether the song is about being in love with an apparition or a painting in a gallery remains in the eye (or should that be ear) of the beholder.
On ‘Don’t Need A Reason’ it is a sax intro that sets the tone (once again by Steve Mann) and prevails throughout, with Danielz’ harmonious lead vocals steering it towards something that flows elegantly and pacey. It is followed by ‘Personal Touch’ – a song with an infectious chorus and fragmented offbeat surprises. Danielz seems fond of saxophones, and here it is Martin Dobson whose blasts complement the skillful guitar play, interspersed by another snarly guitar twang in the middle.
What a wonderful composition the title track ‘Some Romantic Night’ is! Bursting with harmony that drips like honey and Danielz’ vocal work including his cleverly layered backing vocals make this an instant winner. Yes, it is a song about a haunted house, and the very lines, “Why do you whisper / there is no one at home / I should have told you we’re not alone” leave the imaginary canvas blank for the listener to paint their own vision.
Things turn more Bolan-esque on the upbeat ‘Crying In Your Sleep’, a composition that boasts numerous guitars played by Danielz, Jeff Williams and a guy called Rich on bass guitar. ‘Silent Heart’ is a song from 1983 about an alien landing, how exciting: “I’m here, would you like to join me?” The sonic UFO offers fleshed out harmonies and its rich yet smooth sound plus scorching solos drive the rhythm along nicely. It’s simply fabulous, out-of-this-world pop-rock.
Wow, we get a crunchy little kicker with ‘Gunshots At Midnight’… real energetic with inspired riff-work and a punchy beat that holds you firmly in its grip. One of my favorite numbers on the album!
‘Tail-Lights Flashing’ is a mid-temp composition with a witty line that goes “Tell me your secrets, I’ll tell you my lies” and don’t you just love it?
On to ‘Baby Factory (I Wanna Be), another one of Danielz’ earlier compositions. It is one that returns to haunt him time and time again as over the years it changed into different variations. This here is the very first recording, and back in the day it got him somewhat into trouble as his management deemed the lyrical content to risqué for a release! Hard to believe, given that this was in the early 80’s! Remember when in 1969, Led Zeppelin churned out an ole blues classic titled ‘Back Door Man’ (“Shake for me girl, I wanna be your back-door man”).A double entendre if ever there was one! Is Danielz really so controversial then when he sings, “I want to be in your baby factory / I want to play in your baby factory / Do you want it, do you need it?” Though I can see as to why the feminist league might object to it, naturally! While we’re at it, it is a fab number very much in the vein of Bolan, so there.
‘Master Plan’ rolls on stonking and it rocks, it’s full of dynamic rhythm and we’re talking melodic rock merged with sharp hooks and a penetrating sax. In contrast, ‘Looking Through Your Mind’ feels like a typical 80’s pop-rock affair though there is nothing wrong with that.
Closing track ‘Where Were You’ is an achingly beautiful, romantic song and rest assured is everything that a song full of longing should be – effortless yet intense. It’s the kind of music that Boy George/Culture Club does so very well, and Danielz, too! Gospel-inspired harmony vocals and soul-infused passion are at the forefront here, and the whole affair is executed to maximum effect.
As for the four bonus tracks, these are acoustic home recordings and they certainly bear a nod (or two or three) to Marc Bolan! However ‘I’m Living In Dreamland’ and ‘Hermaphrodite’ (“Are you a he, a she or it, baby – not everyone can handle it”) not only bears the hallmark of Bolan but of course, of Danielz through and through.
We are furthermore treated to two cover versions, of which the first is ‘Celluloid Heroes’ by The Kinks, and the second is Bob Dylan’s ‘Stuck Inside Of Mobile’. Surprise surprise, these tracks too are played in a Bolan-esque style (singing / guitar-play) and it works incredibly well.
‘Some Romantic Nights’ is not only a must for fans of Danielz but for fans of quality music and inspired lyrics but let my humble opinion not deter you from getting the scoop first hand… in my interview with Danielz below:
Music-News: What prompted you to write a song about a haunted house ('Some Romantic Night')?
Danielz: When I was writing the lyrics to the track (‘Some Romantic Night’) I didn’t realise until I was well into the final draft that I was actually writing about a haunted house! I guess it must’ve been in my sub-conscience, but it’s eerie to think that it only when I completed the song, that when I read it back, I realised the subject matter!
MN: The track 'Silent Heart' is about an alien landing, what was the reason behind the song?
Danielz: ‘Silent Heart’ stemmed from a T.Rex number called ‘Teenage Dream’. The tune came to me first, and then the lyrics followed - again, Marc’s song, ‘The Visit’ from the T.Rex brown album inspired me, as that was all about an alien experience. It’s also about how sometimes human beings are the savage ones amongst us and me wanting to leave the planet and go elsewhere to a more civilised society.
MN: I'm of the opinion that the songs on the album have stood the test of time very well. If you had the chance to give them a 21st century makeover so to speak, is there anything you would you change?
Danielz: Yes - I wouldn’t have used so much of the ‘syn-drum’ effects that nearly every 1980s artist used at the time as I feel that it now dates much of that era’s music. That’s not to say that it doesn’t stand the test of time at all, it’s just that one can spot instantly when much of it was recorded, and I guess that’s not such a bad thing. However, if I could change anything I would perhaps replace some of the computer drumming for real drums, but I’m still so happy with the outcome as much of it was well recorded in good studios.
MN: I'm particularly intrigued by one of the bonus tracks, 'Hermaphrodite'. Can you explain a little about the initial background idea to the song?
Danielz: ‘Hermaphrodite’ is something lyrically I am most proud of. The lyrics came out of me spontaneously, almost instantly, and they are some of the finest lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s more of a ‘lyric-fest’ rather than a song as such, being that the lyric and the story tell so much. Nothing to do with Marc Bolan really, just topically about people at odds with society and someone who feels that they stand outside the realms of normality - I’ve felt that off and on in my life myself.
MN: The bonus tracks furthermore include two cover versions, one is 'Celluloid Heroes' by The Kinks, the other one is Bob Dylan's 'Stuck Inside Of Mobile'. Why did you choose these two songs?
Danielz: ‘Celluloid Heroes’ and ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile’ are two numbers that I have always found terrific story-telling in the best possible and poetical ways imaginable. Just reading the lyrics without a musical backing is a feat in itself and as I have always been so fascinated by brilliant songsters that can marry up such amazing lyrics to a great tune, and these are two, to my mind, that represent just that. It was hard to record both songs in one take as there are so many lyrics that I could’ve stumbled over, so I was glad to have been able to have had the opportunity to put them both on the album.
MN: Do you plan on playing some of the tracks a future T.Rextasy gigs?
Danielz: Oh no - I could never sing any of these songs at T.Rextasy gigs. They are from another era that was really nothing to do with what was to come. The way the tracks have been written and the way they were recorded was a space in time moment for me. I am so proud that Angel Air have given me the opportunity to release this product into the open market as it proves that I have had something to give originally as well as promoting Marc’s music in the way I do today.
I just hope that everyone will like the album in the spirit of enjoyment, as I loved writing the songs and recording them. It’s lovely to know that a whole batch of my own tracks will be out in the world for years to come…
MN: Many thanks for your time, Danielz, and I’m certain the album will do well!