I’m still on a high after seeing Frank Turner play in Wellington recently, so it’s fitting that I write about another English singer with a folk-punk sound.
Dan Brown comes from Surrey, England. He performs under the moniker Macatier, and he has recently released a new EP named This Boat Is Definitely Sinking.
Brown defines his style as “upbeat acoustic”. I’m going to lump him in with folk-punk because acoustic and folk go together, and because he has opened for bands like Brand New, Saves The Day and The Xcerts, making him a member of punk circles… or close enough anyway.
The twangy ‘Thousand Yard Stare’ is a real stomper, deliberately picked and strummed with a real purpose.
The intro to ‘Panic Attack’ sounds like a warped acoustic “Kashmir”, before transitioning into an upbeat ditty. ‘Panic Attack’ was my personal fave, with plenty of dynamic changes, and an interesting rounds-style outro.
‘Swimming To Canada’ has been picked as the lead single. I’d actually say that it isn’t even the best song on the EP, but after a few listens the song got caught in my head, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad choice. It is certainly the catchiest song on the EP, with the stop/start strums syncopated against the chorus.
The aptly named ‘Sleep Song’ is slower and stripped back, as one would expect from the title. Almost being a lullaby, it’s the least memorable song. That said, the effects are nice (it could be a slide guitar) and the “ba da da’s” at the end seem like a nice way to send us off.
I couldn’t comment on how the EP was recorded, but it sounds pretty raw and unpolished, as you may come to expect from an indie artist. However, if you listen carefully you may pick that the songs haven’t been recorded in one take. There is the inclusion of drums, layered vocal tracks, and added guitar feedback. It begs the question: if you are going to try some tricks to make the recording better, why not try others? I know that I argued for the opposite in my recent Gary Clark Jr review, saying that he lost some of his bluesy feel because his album was mastered too cleanly, but having a quality recording and accurately capturing an authentic vibe aren’t necessarily prerequisite of each other.
If a British singer playing rough-around-the-edges punk-styled songs on an acoustic guitar sounds like your thing, then give Macatier a go.
You can stream/download This Boat Is Definitely Sinking on Soundcloud.