Tri-Danielson!!!- Part II [omega]
By: Eric G.
Daniel Smith is the leader of the Danielson Famile. He has a voice unlike most. His phrasing is similar to Black Francis’ circa Doolittle, but his range is several octaves higher. He writes and plays songs with his brothers and sisters about God, but this is not your average Christian band. This stuff is actually good. Smith has a penchant for writing crazily off-kilter pop melodies. His ear for arrangements is also stellar. The Danielson Famile uses everything from banjos to flutes to bells and organs as well as standard acoustic guitars and drums. The harmonies among the siblings are especially fun because they all seem to have extremely high-pitched voices, making it a strange experience to hear what sounds like a group of munchkins singing about Noah’s blood.
Smith’s lyrics are fairly obtuse but always send a positive message: “the rubbernecker ain’t no lover, he’s a wrecker of the famile of ties now a word for his wives. If you see him checkin’ out my little sister tell that mister that thoughts is quite contrary and her brother is big and scary.” This stuff isn’t thrown together in a garage either. The production emphasizes very warm tones, sounding very claustrophobic and immediate. It’s hard to rock out on acoustic guitars, but this music is as punk as you can get with banjos and triangles. “Sold! To The Nice Rich Man” begins with a reworking of the traditional “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” complete with God even having “the junkies and the flunkies in his hands” and then morphs into a very Pixies-ish, tongue in cheek ode to a world traveler.
I dare you not to like this stuff. It’s all over the place. Crazy changes and unorthodox vocal harmonies mixed with those minnie mouse voices make for some strange and very original tunes. This album is second part of a set called Tri-Danielson, the first part of which was released last year. Smith recently played a solo show as Brother Danielson at the New Brookland Tavern in Columbia, South Carolina inside of a homemade tree. Only his head and his arms showed through to strum the guitar and sing. It was truly a surreal experience. He converted a room full of barflies to his eccentric brand of Christian pop. He played mostly stuff from Tri-Danielson but also gladly accepted requests from the awestruck audience. You definitely don’t see something like that everyday.