Danny Allen – Howdy (CD)

Danny Allen starts off “Howdy” with a very sedate, surf-influenced type of alt-rock track that really leaves eir listeners unsure of where the disc will go in the subsequent tracks. The second track “Scattergun” is much more decisive and works off a Cake/Beck framework, inserting a much more insistent set of guitar lines than would be present in either of the names previously dropped. Something that immediately comes to the front is the fact that everything on “Howdy” is planned out to the T. There is little to no spontaneity on this album, and while the compositions on “Howdy” may sound good, they feel a little too packaged and antiseptic.

There might be intense and interesting compositions at moments on “Howdy”, such as the short guitar solo present on “Mulehead”, but the vast majority is easily-digestible music that makes sense hiding behind dialogue on MTV’s Road Rules or the like. The instrumentation on tracks like “Crawl the Line” indicate an influence in alt-country bands like Uncle Tupelo and Lucero and provide some differentiation between this track and the rest of the fare on “Howdy”. Essentially, the entirety of “Howdy” has this brand of alt-rock but nothing that really stands out. The tracks would be low rotation on college campus but in terms of being revolutionary and creating something that has never been heard before, this album is lacking. The moments in which there seems to be some explosiveness, some change from the norm are the high points of this album, such as the harder-edged surf-influenced sound of “Harvey’s Last Stand”. However, these moments are painfully few in number and listeners are stuck with listening a very episodic and tepid type of rock.

Even when Danny gets off eir laurels and does a track that feels a little more spontaneous (25% More Me), the result feels very paint-by-numbers-ish and not entirely sincere. “Howdy” is an album that has 11 tracks of perfect pop, but none of the soul that makes some pop music (such as The Polyphonic Spree) critically palatable. Perhaps if the production of this disc could be scaled back and Danny allowed to shine in a much more organic way or even just recording a live CD. Give Danny a chance, but maybe let a few years pass and ey be allowed to cut a new set of songs and maybe try out a different form of media before giving eir that chance.

Top Tracks: Howdy, Harvey’s Last Stand

Rating: 2.8/10

Danny Allen – Howdy / 2004 Stanley Recordings / 11 Tracks / http://www.dannyallenmusic.com / dannyallenmusic@yahoo.com / Reviewed 03 June 2005

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