“Dan Croll undergoes both a personal and musical epiphany on a terrific third outing”
THE LINE OF BEST FIT – 9/10
“A beautiful and moving chart of a year in his life, Dan’s latest ‘Grand Plan’ has clearly paid off.” – DIY – 4****
SPECIAL ONE-OFF LIVE STREAM SHOW FROM SPACEBOMB STUDIOS WITH MATTHEW E WHITE AND THE SPACEBOMB BAND IN AID OF FEEDING AMERICA
Dan Croll releases his highly anticipated third album ‘Grand Plan’ today, August 21st through Communion Records, alongside the new video for his new single ‘Surreal’.
Much like the videos for his recent releases ‘So Dark’ and ‘Coldblooded’, the visuals for ‘Surreal’ sees the artist team up with production company The Wild Honey Pie for a stripped-back rendition of the song. Set on an isolated beach in Los Angeles, the track caps off his latest collection as he reminisces about the last year of living in the city and all the experiences he has had along the way.
Speaking about the new video, Dan said, “Where better to finish a trip through L.A. than the beach? Everyone has their ideas of what ‘making it’ is, and most would associate it with riches and fame, but for me it felt great just to make it to the end of a year in LA. Uprooting my life and making such a big move is something I’m very proud of, even if it was tough at times, and for me I feel it most when I’m sat on the beach, so it felt only right to film ‘Surreal’ there.”
‘Grand Plan’ chronicles the 12-month period starting in February 2018 when Croll decided to up sticks and move to Los Angeles after the realisation that he might be becoming restless in Liverpool. Over the ensuing 12 months Dan turned his experiences into 20-odd songs, eventually whittling them down to a solid dozen chapters. Then, in spring 2019, he spent a month with the estimable Matthew E. White in Virginia bringing to life the songs in the inimitable Spacebomb country-psych-soul style. Each song tells a story, in narrative order.
Taking a different approach to releasing new music, since the start of the year the singer-songwriter has been releasing pairs of singles in chronological order as they appear on the record. With these single couplets being released almost once a month, they all lead to the release of ‘Grand Plan’.
Croll introduced us to the first chapter of the album ‘Grand Plan’ at the start of 2020 with the release of double a-side singles ‘Yesterday’ (an ode to opportunities missed whilst being mentored by national treasure Paul McCartney) and ‘Stay In L.A.’ both recounting the beginning stages of a seismic shift in his life and the decision to relocate halfway round the world. After the release of his second album ‘Emerging Adulthood’, Croll, like many in the latter half of their twenties, questioned the very fibre of his being; career; relationships; life choices; future; so he upped sticks and moved to L.A. and hasn’t returned. The resulting transition to life in California, going back to basics with his songwriting and taking inspiration from the music that truly inspired him (James Taylor, Burt Bacharach, Joni Mitchell), many of which are part of Laurel Canyon’s musical heritage, bore the musical fruits which formed his new record and a new era for this prolific songwriter.
The follow up singles ‘Rain’ and ‘Actor With A Loaded Gun’ looked to paint a very different picture to how Dan had been feeling at the time. While ‘Rain’ was a continuation of his anxiety around living in Los Angeles and finding himself missing the seasons in all their wet and blisteringly cold glory, ‘Actor With A Loaded Gun’ was more about the social pressures of fitting into a new and alien world. His lack of kinship with those around and feeling like he was playing the part of the rockstar, it was one of the first examples of what life living with the people of LA was truly like.
Next came the record’s title-track, ‘Grand Plan’, and ‘Work’, where we see the frontman break out of his insular shell a little bit more and begin to embrace the social aspect of his new surroundings. ‘Grand Plan’ continued on from ‘Actor’ in its subject matter of the social pressures in his life, but also sees him grow a thicker skin around himself, realising that while everyone may seem like they are winning at everything, they are more or less in the same place emotionally as the frontman himself. While ‘Work’ gives us our first glimpse at romance. Minimal and lofty in its delivery, this offering is an ode to his current girlfriend, who he refers to as “one of the first genuine people I met in LA”.
From there, we moved to ‘So Dark’ and ‘Honeymoon’, the moment in Dan’s tale where things begin to look up. ‘So Dark’ refers to the sense of humour his newfound friends had, something he felt connected him to his social circle in the UK and began to make him feel more at home. While ‘Honeymoon’ sees him confront the original plan that he had set himself when he first set off, of only staying in LA for one year and deciding what to do next. Torn between the thoughts of potentially leaving just as things began to make sense, is this the end of his honeymoon period?
Before finally, we reach our pair of final preview singles ‘Hit Your Limit’ and ‘Coldblooded’, two of the album’s more retrospective and analytical offerings. While ‘Hit Your Limit’ focuses itself on the common concept of writer’s block and creative fatigue, ‘Coldblooded’ sees itself as more of a revenge song for those that wronged him when he first moved out west. Specifically his roommate who evicted him from his new home after just four months, just as Dan was beginning to see the good side of his time in Los Angeles.
Completing the album are the final pair of tracks from the collection, which are yet to be previewed – ‘Surreal’ and ‘Together’. While ‘Surreal’ sees him in an almost nostalgic guise, looking back over the last year and feeling positive about the life decision he has made, ‘Together’ closes the record on a more sombre note. Although it was originally intended to be a bright and positive note to cap the album with, his friends from Liverpool, the band Her’s and their manager, tragically died in a car crash while on tour. Heartbroken and feeling utterly depressed, he soon found solace in what had happened and this curtain call reminds us all to appreciate life in both what it can give and what it can take, never losing a moment, and always making the most of every situation.
Speaking about the experience and his return to the music scene Dan explains, “The past two years have been a rollercoaster, starting from scratch, alone in a different country, but I’m so happy to have come out the other end with this collection of songs. Feels great not only to be back on the music scene, but to be doing it with songs that I finally feel represent the influences and music I truly love.”
Dan will be back in Richmond Virginia, live from the Spacebomb studios where his new album ‘Grand Plan’ was made, for a special online event on Sunday September 13th. Re-uniting with album producer Matthew E White and musicians Cameron Ralston, Devonne Harris, Alan Parker and Daniel Clarke who he made the record with for this one-off live streamed show. Dan will be playing through selected tracks from the record, as well as talking about how the record was made and introducing the incredible musicians who featured on the album.
Fans can buy tickets from – https://guts.events/s38iiw-dan-croll-album-launch – to this one-off live-streamed event on a pay-what-you-want basis, with all profits from the show going to Feeding America to support their valuable work in the US community.
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