Daniel Simonis

Daniel Simonis

Independent release, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As I write this review, it's 11 p.m. in Chicago - I'm officially past deadline for the site. (Nothing unusual for me... fortunately, I'm on a first-name basis with the boss.) I'm exhausted, and am desparately jonesing for the bottle of ginger ale chilling in the fridge below. I've also been fighting a migraine all day, and am in a bear of a mood. Normally, this means the reader is in for a review which makes the hunting scenes on The Discovery Channel look like the typical violence in a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

But, no, not tonight. Something has soothed my savage breast, and his name is Daniel Simonis. His self-titled CD is a mixture of alternative, pop and country that has a few weak moments, but otherwise suggests that something wonderful will be coming from this young man very soon.

To call Simonis country is a bit narrow in definition. You can hear his Ohio farmboy roots in some of his work, yet you can also hear how his time in New York helped to forge his music into something exquisite and unique. Admittedly, there still needs to be some work done to the final product to hone down the sharp edges and buff away some of the dull lustre. But the basic root of Simonis's music is there, and it runs deep.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Take the second song, "Long Way Down," for starters. With a tinge of country in it, this track also has a strong hook and infectious style about it. It kind of makes me think of what Matthew Sweet would be creating if he had more of a roots-rock approach to his music instead of retro-'70s kitsch. Simonis and his rotating band of musicians prove that you don't need to have everything cranked up on the amps to show the true power of the music.

That musical magic often shows itself on Daniel Simonis, especially on tracks like "So Much For Plans," "Another Delay," "Pretend" and "Spaceship". If these tracks are any indication of what Simonis is capable of, then we could be looking at one of the artists who will help to spearhead the next folk explosion.

Yet Simonis does occasionally show that he's still maturing as a musician. "Chasing Down The Sun" is not the strongest way that he could have opened the album. "Someone To Sleep With" has some incredibly beautiful moments, but there are some areas of the song where it feels like Simonis is trying to stretch his vocals a little bit higher than they should. (The track is also a little sleepy, though it does have its moments.)

Maybe the one criticism I could level against Simonis is that it sometimes feels like he's trying too hard. Stylistically, he does tend to jump around a bit, almost as if he wanted to show people he could adapt to different genres. Sometimes, it's hard for the listener to keep making those shifts in equilibrium, and occasionally Simonis's musical message tends to get lost while that shift is being made. My advice: stick with two or three changes in style, and use them sparingly. On future albums, he could do more experimenting.

Still, Daniel Simonis is a relatively strong statement on a first outing, and shows that if he's given the right notice, Simonis is an artist we'll be hearing a lot about very soon.

2001 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.