Looking Back: Our Favorite Albums of 2007 #3

#3 :: David Karsten Daniels - Sharp Teeth (Fat Cat)
Much earlier in 2007, when the fields were fallow and the most bitter cold engulfed the plains, Sharp Teeth unraveled itself as a brief masterwork of human emotion. Not on the first, nor the second listen, but gradually, in the same way that intricate relationships are formed this record took hold of me and has yet to release me from its arresting glow. Combining minimal folk with expansive post-rock stylings, David Karsten Daniels has created a work at times barren and at others bathing in warmth that runs the gamut of human emotion. From the jubilant drone of “The Dream Before the Ring Awoke Me” to the ominous build of “Minnows,” Daniels has made a record as affecting as any I’ve ever heard.

“The Dream…” begins the album with the refrain of “There is a joy that you can’t contain/There is a feeling you just can’t explain,” accompanied by the lush instrumentation provided by his myriad friends that accompanied him in the recording. However, following this opening high point, Daniels takes us through a treatise on the inevitability of human nature. To be concise: they’re going to let you down. On “American Pastime,” there’s a quality oddly reminiscent of Malkmus as he compares his relationship to wartime: an utter lack of honesty and misunderstanding leads to his gruesome and yet seemingly inescapable fate: “In my fear and in my haste/Your willingness I would mistake as you quickly reaching for your knife/Oh I’d pepper bullets across your spine.”

Much of the album contains similarly gory themes of mistrust and betrayal, which represent an uglier side of ourselves than we may always want to admit. But this isn’t Daniels’ effort to get on a soapbox of self-pity. It’s intensely personal but viewed through a prism of wider scope. I had a girlfriend once who couldn’t understand why I was attracted to sad music, but as I’ve aged, I see now that it isn’t the sadness that draws me but rather the presentation. And on Sharp Teeth, I find Daniels’ reflecting on some human condition. As he sings on the standout track “Beast,” “You’re gonna have to look the beast in the face.” (todd)

Download: David Karsten Daniels - Beast
Buy it here
David Karsten Daniels
Fat Cat Records

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