Daniel Davies – Signals (Album Review)

Daniel Davies is a musician and composer at the intersection of much musical creativity. From his work with godfather John Carpenter, starting in 2015 on Lost Themes and Lost Themes II, to previous work with his Rock bands Year Long Disaster and Karma to Burn, to his touring with CKY, it seems there is no limit to Davies’ artistry. The son of The Kinks’ Guitarist Dave Davies, Daniel Davies was unquestionably gifted the talent to immerse himself in music, but to his credit he has created his own opportunities. Which leads us to his most recent work, the forthcoming album Signals, due out on Friday, February 28, 2020 via Sacred Bones Records. 

His first solo effort through Sacred Bones Records, and his second overall solo full-length, it is a relatively quick follow-up considering he released Events Score in 2018, had been touring, and also worked on the music for 2018’s Halloween with John and Cody Carpenter. So what does the talented artist bring to the table this time around with Signals?

Offering eight new, very cinematic songs, there is something palpable in the nearly silent sounds that open “Last Days.” A stunning start to the album, a reverb-laden guitar strums at a lazy pace before it is slowly joined by bright pulses of synth and a patient drum beat. In the next track, “One Hundred Years,” the synth seems to transport the listener into a bubble of serenity; it is as if being surrounded by an orchestra that has been doomed to slowly play for all eternity. The third arrangement, “Origins,” is a vivid awakening of rapid-paced frequencies and harmonious, full-bodied guitar. Progressing, it elevates to a dramatic build-up of guitar melodies that slice through the noise and multi-layered accompaniment. 

For those seeking a tempered acoustic piece, “Beyond Megalith Illumination” resides in a peaceful state of airy background fuzz, mirrored acoustic picking, and a slow grind. Meanwhile, the intensity that lies in “Possessor” comes from its halting, chopped introit  before fades away to partake in a gentler tone for a bit of the song’s duration. This is as “Phantom Waltz” represents one beautiful piece of what the album holds. The lead single, it builds upon itself with microcosms of choral voices and starlit synthesizers as a fierce, modern take on the classic waltz. Finally, the conclusion comes with “Visible,” offering a brief and altruistic ending to a glorious soundscape.

Within the world of Signals, Daniel Davies has built a multi-tiered experience of melody and intrigue. There is nothing convoluted or disputable about Davies’ execution: he finesses the guitar with effect in such a way that it flows alongside the synth keys. In this, the frequencies used evoke sensations ranging from serenity to joy, and there is no limit in the way he makes these feelings instruments all their own. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Signals 5 out of 5 stars.

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