Dan Coyle – The Undertow
In May of 2013, Dan Coyle released his sixth album, an EP, The Undertow, and for the first time in his career, this solo acoustic songwriter has teamed up with a band to create an EP with a twist. Each song is featured twice, once with the band, and then again by Mr. Coyle alone. It’s a twist that could go bad for the listeners depending on the strength of the songs, and lucky for Mr. Coyle, his songs are strong.
From the time he started writing and recording music in 2006, all his music has been the classic singer/songwriter, who heads to stage or studio with only a their guitar and voice to express themselves through song and win over an audience with. In many ways, it’s one of the more difficult and gutsy ways to make music, as there’s no one to fall back on, it’s just one person who falls alone, all the way down if they fail. While he must stumble as we all do every now and again, it is doubtful that Mr. Coyle ever falls too far, as he has good songs, a solid singing voice, and strong guitar playing to catch him before he ever hits the ground.
“Back Around” opens the EP with steady guitar picking, soon joined by strings in the background, as Mr. Coyle is joined in chorus by a female singer while they sing a song of saying goodbye to a love, thinking of how things will be when they get home. “I Adore You,” another love song, opens with simple guitar strumming joined in by a quick blast of a harmonica before Mr. Coyle begins his vocals while the piano, bass, and drums kick in behind him, adding a solid base for his vocals to coast above.
“Something’s Changed” is perhaps the best song of the batch, as it again opens with a steady simple guitar strum, but one with a bit of a groove to it, that is, as much as groove can be added to a love song about what’s going wrong in a relationship, but Mr. Coyle’s strong voice carries the song while the drums complement the guitar to give it extra kick, and the piano and strings fill in the background beautifully.
The EP then shifts to the same three songs again, though performed by Mr. Coyle alone. In many ways, they’re more effective this way; it sounds as though this is his element, where he is most comfortable as a performer. His voice is big enough, and soars over the music more then well enough to fill a room, and there’s enough going on in Mr. Coyle’s guitar playing to fill out the songs and give them a rich, layered sound.
With The Undertow, Dan Coyle has written a suite of love/relationship songs that are very good songs on their own, and are a perfect fit for their genre. Offering listeners the perspectives of hearing the songs in two different forms is an interesting idea. Though it would have worked better had the forms of the songs varied a bit more; they do not go from rock and roll with a kick to solo acoustic tracks, they go from soft rock to solo acoustic rock with little variance in the arrangement of the songs. That being said, the songs still work, and for those intrigued by the singer/songwriter, Dan Coyle just might be right up your alley.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 3 Stars
Album Name: The Undertow
Date Released: May, 2013
Genre: singer/songwriter, acoustic
Location: New York, Chicago, Europe,
Band Members: Dan Coyle
Record Label: Parachuting Buddha Records / http://parachutingbuddha.com