The story of Daniel DeWitt is rather interesting. Formally a part of alt-rock group Winston Audio, DeWitt broke off from the band in need of a break. He and his wife bought a house and he didn’t play a whole lot of music. But only a short time passed from his new job making chandeliers to DeWitt playing again.
A Kickstarter campaign was released to raise funds for his solo effort following the inception of a Christmas album and he self-produced his second album Phantom Memory: The Musical in 2012. DeWitt describes his newest album Companion as “synthesizers and drum samples sit[ting] snugly behind a wall of guitars and vocals, each part working together to serve the song.”
The songs on Companion are simple. DeWitt’s voice is clean, crisp and calming. So what’s so special about it? The mix of easy synths with raw guitars is an interesting sound but other than that, there isn’t anything groundbreaking here.
“Fingers Touching Thread”, the fourth track on the album, leans more on the electronic side with those synths coming out from behind that wall of guitars and vocals. Ironically enough, this track most reminds me of the California bluegrass band Nickel Creek. The harmonies and now equal balance between unnatural and natural instruments are reminiscent of Nickel Creek’s balance between conventional instruments (guitars) and unconventional (fiddle, mandolin).
“Middle Name” is a more intimate, almost sit-down song. “Middle name, tells a story tells a truth,” DeWitt sings over a minimal background of acoustic guitars and electronic percussions.
The seventh track “Betrayed” reminds me of some sort of lost Radiohead track with its experimental (electric) guitar riffs and bass. I’m surprised and a little disappointed that the bass has only become so identifiable this far in the album considering DeWitt used to play bass for Winston Audio. However, “Betrayed” is the lead track here focusing on those ‘60s and ‘70s roots that DeWitt favors.
Companion isn’t reinventing the wheel but I can enjoy and appreciate a more stripped back, good feeling, healthy and simple work of music.
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