Friday, 2 March 2012
Den-igan - S/T (Independent)
There’s a real old-school folk charm to Denialle Haslip’s (aka Den-igan) debut album. The Windsor, Ontario native writes lyrics that are observational and feel quite personal, she keeps the backing simple, mostly an acoustic guitar and not much else, and she sings every word like she means it; like a young Lucinda Williams, raised in and on New York folk music, rather than the Louisiana blues of Lake Charles.
She’s a relative newcomer to both songwriting and her instrument, and readily admits to learning as she goes along. I come across many singer-songwriters (and groups) who release records before they’re ready, but that’s not the case here. Certainly it’s raw and not at all polished, but there’s a genuine talent at work, and in cases like this, naivety often equals charm.
If I had my own radio show, I’d be playing the punchy “Pancakes, No Heartache” on a loop. Listeners would phone in and thank me. “Sunshine Dan” is just as good, though slow and intense, and “Don't Tell Me It's Just Bad Luck” builds beautifully. The nine tracks come to a close after less than 23 minutes, which indicates a certain leanness to her songwriting that should be admired, though the downside is it’s over all too soon.