Another pop album from Dan Croll, a graduate of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, produced this time by Ben Allen, Emerging Adulthood seems to speak precisely that. Moving away from that Metronomy groove, this new record speaks of a degree of emotional maturity, a more reflective piece of work, but not entirely to my taste.
Since the release in early 2014 of his debut album, Sweet Disarray, the range of bands who have sought out Dan as a support act, Imagine Dragons, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club to Haim, London Grammar and Chvrches attests to the motivated variety of his tracks. Away from the music Dan has also weirdly had a very successful stint as an agony uncle for ‘Dial Dan’. Launched as a fun way for Dan to connect with his fans and offer them a way to get “Away from Today”, the hotline soon took became a more purposeful ambition as fans shared their experiences on a whole host of topics that they wanted to escape from. Perhaps this is where the maturity comes from.
Emerging Adulthood is primarily a enjoyable pop album, with mere moments of lyrical reflection. The opener, One of Us, not only hoards a catchy guitar riff but hits us with lyrics like, “I told you one thousand times that you would rather be one of us. ” The stand-out track, the aforementioned Away from Today, is somewhat carnivalesque in its noise, layered with percussion, brass and bells, adding an upbeat and perky vibe to this album. A single release, for certain. Tracks like Do You Have To add a more reflective tone, as he ponders, “since you’ve been gone I have longed for a voice,” whereas January brings his career into the context of his work, touching on touring and the seasons that affect a musician’s movements.
Fun and stylised, this album is more about sound over substance but as I mentioned previously, the title sits nicely with this sound, as emerging suggests we are not quite there, and provides hope for albums to follow. Emotionally more mature than his last, we may well see great things from Dan Croll yet.
Emerging Adulthood is released on July 21st via Communion Records.