Artist: Darren Hanlon
Album: I Will Love You At All
Label: Yep Roc
Release Date: Out now
Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy
The opener to I Will Love You At All--"Butterfly Bones," a bouncy, mostly acoustic song about an easily broken girl--should be enough to sell you on Darren Hanlon. It's just one example of what Hanlon does best: weave together a narrative in his lyrics while using meter in his vocals and creative instrumentation to form charming, catchy folk songs. On "Butterfly Bones," there's a trumpet and violin that each play once, in between verses; they sound more like voices than instruments, complementing Hanlon's simple guitar and a steady, even drum beat. Combined with Hanlon's every-man voice and lovely lyrics--"Do me a favor/if you want to be my savior/then you're gonna have to learn how to sing"--and "Butterfly Bones" is the sort of song that will be stuck in your head for weeks.But the album's biggest accomplishment is that nearly every song is as unique as "Butterfly Bones." The Australian Hanlon might be touring with badass Billy Bragg this fall, but he's not sticking to one style the way Bragg does with politically-tinged folk anthems. Instead, he varies his sound from one song to the next: "Modern History," the second track on I Will Love You At All is soaring pop song that includes an off-beat, broken piano; "House" is a 7-minute long story about returning to the house where a relationship lived and died, and it feels more like an epic poem than a song. There are standout tracks all over this album, all following themes of isolation, heartache, and loss while sounding sweet.
I Will Love You At All is Hanlon's first album to receive a big publicity push in the U.S. (he's released four other albums in Australia), and it's a smart move. This complicated, layered record is sure to break--and win over--people's hearts.