Album review: Dan Croll—Sweet Disarray

Ileana Alvarez-Diaz

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re just indifferent with the world? Dan Croll, British singer/songwriter, just released his debut LP, Sweet Disarray, and I’m indifferent with it; truthfully, I’m up in arms as to how I should feel about this album. Granted, the album juxtaposes countless electronic and folk elements and it’s an adventure, but it feels like it’s missing something — to me at least.

Opener “From Nowhere” is catchy. I love all the melodies infused: polyrhythms here and there, and everything falls into place. Croll’s vocals have this echo lingering and it’s all nice.

However, as you progress, it’s as if that mere glimpse of magic shown earlier goes back into hiding. You then hear it again in “In/Out,” where it feels like you’re in a video game or at grand central station dancing in a flash mob — this song is perfect for that. Guitars hook you in, unleashing waves of euphoria, and the chorus is beyond exhilarating. Not only is this song uplifting with sweet pop quirks, when you hear Croll’s lyrics, it’s something that I can’t fathom. He sings, “Sometimes I, never let you know/That I still sing the songs wrote down on my bedroom wall/And somehow I, always fail to show/The appreciation you crave cuz I’m a fool for you.” When I first heard that, not only did I swoon due to Croll’s clear vocals, but I grew attached to this song.

Following is “Compliment Your Soul,” which is where the audience can hear those heavy Afrobeat-influenced sounds again and again; more dazzling and captivating than ever.

But then I feel indifferent again with “Can You Hear Me,” which is heavy on percussion and takes away from what Croll is singing – not completely of course.

“Sweet Disarray” is lovely. The track illustrates Croll’s Grandmother and the struggles she faces with dementia; it’s absolutely heartfelt. A sweet acoustic track that captures your heart and takes you through all the vibrant dimensions in the universe. Cascades of rich orchestral accompaniment are revealed and there are no words, you’re just left feeling complete.

“Must Be Leaving” is another track that shines, and if you’re a fan of Local Natives, listen to it.

“Always Like This” is absolutely festive and filled with indie-pop quirks. Croll’s vocals truly captivate one here.

Ending with “Home” is beautiful. It becomes this grandiose mix of rich melodies and you no longer feel indifferent. Croll incorporates steel drums and you’re swooning over everything that’s happening; I was.

If you want to question his album, and then be pleasantly surprised, listen to Sweet Disarray; you’ll be glad you did.