When there are literally thousands of other Australian male singer-songwriters, how do stand out from the crowd? While it’s no easy feat, Brisbane musician Dan Parsons has done exactly that on his debut album Fire Starter.
Shying away from the acoustic folk of his Old Brown Shoe EP, he opts for the full band approach on Firestarter with the help of his friend James O’Brian (The Boat People) and producer John Castle (Washington). The result is an album full of memorable and honest pop songs.
If album opener Run With Me doesn’t make you melt, it will certainly charm the pants off you. With the main focus on John Castle’s strong percussion and Parsons’ voice, the track never feels overcrowded, even with the addition of synths. That said, it is easy to hear how the song would sound in acoustic mode and it’s almost a shame that it’s a side of Parsons that we don’t get to hear on Firestarter.
The album’s title track is the most obvious choice for a single and the closest thing to a straight-out rock song the album has to offer. With a catchy, soaring chorus about the possibility of a one night stand becoming something more, it’s surprising that radio isn’t all over this.
While the first two tracks are certainly the strongest, that’s not to say the rest of the album is not worth listening to. I Can’t Watch You hides its scathing lyrics under a layer of cheerful indie pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Little Red record. Closing track Cedar Creek features just piano Parsons’ voice and is one of the highlights of the album. It’s almost a shame that we don’t hear more of this style on the album because it is one of the most memorable tracks, despite the sparse instrumentation.
Overall Firestarter is a great collection of sincere indie-pop songs. It’s very promising debut album and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from Dan Parsons in the future.
You can download some of his tracks for free at his unearthed page.