The Who had Live at Leeds while Gang Of Four are originally from there. And in 2011 English troubadour, Daniel Pearson – a sweet man from Yorkshire – decamped to this city to produce the rather sunny (at least for an Englishman) debut LP, Satellites.
Originally recorded over five days, Pearson teamed up with Ed Heaton to co-produce a follow up to his introductory, song-a-week project. Satellites is a cohesive-sounding album that features 10 melodic and introspective songs. It’s one solid and impressive debut from a rather honest and mature musician.
Pearson grew up on a diet of American music. From the alt-rock of The Lemonheads, Nirvana and Elliott Smith, he would graduate to The Boss and the inimitable Ryan Adams. In a curious twist of fate, it’s this latter artist that Pearson seems to get compared to the most. But really, Pearson is indebted to all these elder statesmen who have played their parts in influencing him.
Satellites is not about reinventing the wheel. Yes, it is another bloke with a guitar and he’s singing some bittersweet and wistful odes. Thankfully it is redeemed by the overarching theme, a positive one and that is to live and enjoy the moment. It’s certainly a statement felt on ‘Wishing Well’ where broody guitars and a choir full of harmonies share some of the optimistic spunk Donavon Frankenreiter spruiks on his latest offering, Start Livin’.
Things start off well with the warm and inviting, ‘Masquerade’. Pearson asks the listener to join in the shenanigans with some lilting folk that can be as light and airy as an aero chocolate bar. The Englishman is then joined by Candy Hayes on ‘Tracks,’ a rather quaint, country-tinged number. It’s better than a country mile and this almost literally seems to be referenced in the following, ‘Waves In The Sea’ where we take an open sweep across an ocean, no less
There is some of Van Morrison’s harmonica – last seen in ‘Bright Side Of The Road’ – on ‘4th July’ while ‘Civilians’ traverses some well-trodden terrain to take a swipe at celebrity culture. It’s one of the album’s poorer moments and it does expose some of Pearson’s sub-par lyrics. On the remainder of the tracks you’ll find that at best they are vague and uncomplicated while at worst they can be overly simplistic and repetitive. The latter moments however, are few and far between.
On ‘Satellite Town’ the listener is treated to a love letter about home and the closer, ‘It’s Been A While’ builds from a gentle hum to a nifty crescendo. The ten cuts are musically sound, having taken in noises that are virtually: bouncy country, acoustic folk and even a pop-rock stomp. Although understated and soft at times, Satellite’s biggest strength is that it manages to keep things interesting by offering varied music and lessons in homespun Americana.
Satellites is full of tender odes that occasionally see Pearson staring at the embers and armed with merely a guitar whilst in an empty room. At other moments he could be stoking the ashes that burn in the hearts of family and friends, so things are not all about this folkster being all on his lonesome. And like a collection of treasured, sepia photographs, Satellites is ultimately heart-warming, delicate and full of more depth then originally meets the eye. All that’s left to say dear listener, is allow Satellites to get onto your radar and let it tickle your heartstrings with its calm, personal touch. Sublime.
Originally published on 22 May 2012 at the following website: http://theorangepress.net/2012/05/daniel-pearson-satellites/
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