File under: Boss rock
Reminds me of: Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love” phase, Collective Soul’s ballads, Adrian Legg’s guitar stylings
My faves: City of Kings, Turn Blue, Rerun,. The Whole Truth, Written in the Sand
Hear it online: Click here
For fans of: Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, John Mayer, The Script, The National, Steve Earle
Cast: Carsten Nielsen: vocals, guitars, bass, keys, sax. Bertil Bille: drums, cajon, percussion. Tino Pedersen: background vocals, guitars, bass. Production Carsten Nielsen, Elias Bille
Trivia: Danophone means “Danish speaking by birth or adoption”
Quick take: “Rerun” is one good mixing session away from being categorized as a mainstream album. Introspective honest rock songs and ballads permeated with gorgeous guitar work and solid vocals. Swedish journalists make good music. “Melancholic songs from the happiest city in the world’s happiest country.”
Chris Davis – Hailing from Aalborg, Denmark, Danophone is the musical side project of Danish science journalist Carsten Nielsen, accompanied by long-time friend and fellow journalist Tino Pedersen and percussionist Beril Bille. There are lots of stories partially but effectively told here, compelling one to listen a little bit more closely to the words for clues. The guitar work is stellar, rich in tone, immaculately interwoven, and melodically interesting throughout. The first track led me to expect a “guitar” record, but there’s a fair bit of variety here, including ballads and rockers. Nielson’s vocals are spot on, and many times reminded me of mid-career Springsteen, so much so that I assumed this was a Jersey band (I tend to read the bios after listening to the albums a few times for these reviews).
According to the UN, Aalborg in northern Denmark, is the Happiest City in Europe, but Nielson apparently missed the memo, as most of the songs on this album are permeated with regrets and self recriminations. He says these songs were written at a low ebb, “so it’s not the whole truth, just the darker nuances of it.” According to his bio, Nielson “uses songwriting as emotional counterweight to the fact based world of research and technology, where he also operates.
There are a number of compelling songs, but City of Kings stands out to me as a potential hit, particularly if it were slightly remixed to fix a slight misstep in an otherwise stellar drum track. This is the song that got stuck in my head for a few days. Bille’s percussion is clean and innovative in general One other criticism: move the bass up in the mix.
I’m looking forward to more from this talented group