Dan Whitehouse – Reflections On The Glass Age: Album Review

Dan Whitehouse strips The Glass Age songs back to bare bones.

Release Date: 28th April 2023

Label: Bandcamp

Format: CD / digital

Simply put, these are songs from 2022’s The Glass Age album in an acoustic format. The sort of thing that you occasionally see Martyn Joseph (and Richard Thompson) do and if it’s good enough for MJ (and RT), then surely it’ll do for Dan. If arms were being twisted, we say that the solo acoustic leanings are the ones of choice.

Originally inspired by “the looking glass of virtual communication” (whatever would Alice be thinking?) these reworkings of The Glass Age songs find Dan and collaborator Gustaf Ljunggren head into a very minimal space that fits in the confines and comfort of your living room. He might have once recognised that “Screens are ok!” but must admit that meeting, playing and communicating face-to-face is much better.

The opening line of Campfire sums things up rather nicely: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change.” Not just a philosophy for life or a rumination on the impact of life in isolation, but also in terms of the songs on The Glass Age. Songs reimagined and delivered in a pared-down fashion, displaying an intimacy and fragility where less is certainly more.

Full of hold-your-breath moments, the atmosphere feels even more melancholy in considering how human communication and relationships have evolved. The real-life performances being both rare and to be treasured, yet, looking on the bright side, Dan reflects on the validity of “face-to-face hugs, holding hands or a digital wave.”

It feels very much as the songs have been taken back to how they began with the performances bare and stark. The squeak of fingers on the guitar strings in Remind Me reveals an upfront closeness while used in moderation, the Ljunggren piano strikes sweetly, particularly on Rainbows Never End. Billie Maree also adds a backing vocal to Thin Blue Line where the two voices are placed against a minimal guitar. Songs with no fat, no filler, just what’s needed. Perhaps a path that more should follow.

Dan Whitehouse online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

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