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Album Review : Dan Patlansky: Shelter of Bones

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Born in Johannesburg in 1981 Dan Patlansky was nurtured on a medley of rock, blues, funk, soul and jazz found in his parents record collection.

His early favourite was Pink Floyd, this was before discovering Stevie Ray Vaughan and deciding that blues-rock was for him, he formed his first band when he was 16.

He made a number of albums that were released in South Africa, but it was in 2014 when his seventh record ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ got him international recognition, he opened for Bruce Springsteen and toured with Joe Satriani shortly afterwards.

‘Shelter of Bones’ is Patlansky’s tenth album, and was three years in the making with many ups and downs including a global pandemic. He is recently quoted as saying during an interview “Shelter of Bones is an accurate representation of who I am currently as an artist, which is a modern twist on what I love most, the Blues.”

This new album contains 11 tracks and a running time of 47 minutes. I have seen Dan Patlansky play live a couple of times, but this is the first album I’ve heard.

The opening track is ‘Soul Parasite’, about the notion that most current political leaders are in it for themselves rather than the ideology of looking after their people. It starts with a crashing intro; this evolves into some heavy Blues riffs.

Mid-way Dan gives us a heavy rock solo, it almost sounds angry portraying his sentiment towards these ‘Leaders’. The whole track has been thought about, and as a result we have some very intelligent sounds.

We slither into ‘Snake Oil City’, now ‘Snake Oil City’ is apparently a fictional place full of liars and thieves, it could be any government? This has a Blues/Jazz feel about it. Turn down the lights, settle down in your favourite chair and let the music gently caress your ears. This track has intricate tempo changes and guitar breaks that are sewn together by a considerate vocal.

‘Selfish Lover’, in a pervious interview Dan says this song is “A true story about my relationship with tobacco”. This track picks up the tempo, it has a heavy bass riff and is a more rock driven sound. Dan’s vocal sounds like that of Grunge Icons Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell and exhibits a further range of singing ability. I really enjoyed this track and would love to see it unleashed live.

Up next is ‘Lost’, written about a time when his wife fell ill, and the doctors had told him to expect the worst. Thankfully, all turned out OK in the end. It’s a true ballad of love, very slow and reflective. It’s written and performed thoughtfully and passionately. It makes you think about what’s happening in your own life. Provocative.

A song about ‘Bad Ass’s’ and no matter how much you, or who tries to help them, they will remain a ‘Bad Ass’. ‘Bad Soul’ has an up-beat marching pace, it encourages you tap your foot and nod along to the rhythm. There is a great electronic/space sound running underneath, then across the top reaching out to grab you is a cracking solo.

The next treat, a track called ‘Presence’ questioning why we live our lives in the past or the future and not for today. A slightly distorted riff starts the track, before adopting a more funk/pop sound. Patlansky’s vocal is clean and fresh it works well with the dirty guitar riff. Throughout the track he demonstrates a great mix of guitar sounds.

‘I’ll Keep Trying’ sees Patlansky in a reflective mood, with a song about personal flaws, and the effect of those on relationships with people closest to you. The guitar work is delicate and precise, the track is gentle almost a lullaby. You just want to listen, totally immersive.

An annoyed Patlansky wrote ‘Devil’s Dopamine’, annoyed with modern societies addiction and reliance on the digital world. A full Funk style track, full of harmonies, another track that should be added to a live set. It sounds like they had fun making this one. The vocal is short and punchy, the solo is a bluesy rock fusion. The beat nice and steady.

‘Sweet Memories’ the intro is slow and steady it has a Blues/Southern rock vibe, Patlansky is narrating a story, it’s a story about happy times. An increasing tempo drumbeat builds up to lead breaks, before slowing things down as the story continues. The solo is calm and relaxing but elaborate.

The recently released single ‘Hounds Loose’ is the penultimate track. The common Blues scenario of selling your soul to the devil for your desires, then he comes to collect what he’s owed. The vocal is primarily sung against a backdrop of a steady drumbeat during the verses, when we get to the chorus things liven up with the band joining in.

The title track is the last one on the album, ‘Shelter of Bones’, Patlansky the parent, has fears about what the effect the world will have on his children.

Apparently, the album consists of snippets of advice for his children as they grow up in the world, “It’s like my heart is beating without the shelter of bones.

This starts slowly, Patlansky is almost speaking, just a piano for accompaniment, a short lead break welcomes the rest of the band in, the pace is still slow and caring. The solo has feeling, this song is written with tenderness.

This is a very well thought out album, with a mix of moods, tempos, and styles. It’s not fair to call this a Blues album, it’s so much more, maybe a snapshot of his parents record collection. It’s a real journey for your emotions and senses too. Now excuse me, whilst I go off and grab a beer, settle down and play the album again.

ALBUM TRACK LISTING

  1. SOUL PARASITE (3:31)
  2. SNAKE OIL CITY (4:26)
  3. SELFISH LOVER (3:14)
  4. LOST (4:14)
  5. BAD SOUL (4:06)
  6. PRESENCE (4:13)
  7. *I’LL KEEP TRYING (5:42)
  8. DEVIL’S DOPAMINE (3:19)
  9. SWEET MEMORIES (4:51)
  10. *HOUNDS LOOSE (3:44)
  11. *SHELTER OF BONES (5:20)

The album is available to pre-order from https://DanPatlansky.lnk.to/ShelterofBonesSo.

Patlansky will support the album with a nationwide UK tour from March 31 – April 12 with special guest Arielle. Tickets are available at www.thegigcartel.com/Artists-profiles/Dan-Patlansky.htm.

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