David Karsten Daniels - Sharp Teeth
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David Karsten Daniels
Sharp Teeth

David Karsten Daniels is a singer/songwriter based in North Carolina who has released several albums since the turn of the century on a small label called Bu Hanan. Sharp Teeth is his debut for Fat Cat Records, and in addition to a tighter focus on his songcraft (less noisy diversions, etc), his recording process has stepped up a great deal as well, moving from pieced-together four track and computer recordings to fleshed-out pieces with musical contributions from almost twenty people.

The album opens with "The Dream Before The Ring That Woke Me," and the track feels sorta like a rough, less-bubbly back-porch version of a Polyphonic Spree song, as the three minute track arcs gracefully into a string-backed choral section that's quite lovely. "Scripts" strips things down to organs, guitars, and vocals from Daniels for an almost church-like first section before loping into a ragged, horn and piano accompanied bayou jazz ending.

The first half of the album continues with the subtle genre jumps, and it's during this point that Sharp Teeth really works some magic. "American Pastime" again brings some sharp piano chords and rhythmic guitars in alongside soaring vocals from Daniels that pull everything together. Like several other tracks on the album, "Jesus And The Devil" tackles some religion with serious questions while touching on country musically with lazy slide guitars. In many ways, Daniels has a lot of things in common with another songwriter who goes by three names - David Eugene Edwards (of Sixteen Horsepower). Although Edwards is a little more fervent both lyrically and musically, both of the artists are unafraid to mix both noisy and ambient passages into their songs while referencing the haunted South.

The second half of Sharp Teeth is much, much slower, and although there are definitely still several high points (including the scherzo strings and dirging guitar intro of "Minnows"), the longer tracks and slow-core pace (without any breaks) gives the release a much more laborious feel. Considering the whole ten track release is just under forty minutes in total length, the album is still fairly concise, but the slightly dragging second half makes it feel a bit longer than it really is. That said, there are still plenty of high points on Sharp Teeth, and if you're a fan of the aforementioned (or Will Oldham), it should be right up your alley.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2007-03-15 20:29:20