Dan Melchior is artist as perpetual motion machine. We could say “shark,” but Dan doesn’t sniff for blood in the water. Instead, he is inviting you to his private lake; his solace relies on his relentless creativity. Whether painting, writing, collaging or recording, Dan offers nothing less than words, images and sounds transmitted directly from his subconscious, but filtered through the rigorous process of a true artist. Dan’s latest offering is a superb collection of songs and sonic vignettes that dips down deep into life’s trenches. Here, where light has to fight to be noticed, misery, monotony and melancholy mingle and bleed into one another. Accordingly, Dan doesn’t play the blues, he plays the greys.
Plays The Greys is a patchwork album, but don’t let that imply carelessness. Each odd juxtaposition serves a purpose and illuminates its surroundings like a torch in the night. Part one and part two of the title track are perfect examples of Dan’s decidedly non-academic approach to musique concrete’s a-musical gestures. Field recordings bump up against back-porch guitar plucking that morphs into radio declarations by the good Christians among us. Praise be. In more ways than one, “Death Has No Mercy” is the center of the album. Midway through its hazy meanderings, “Death…” jumps into an uptempo backwoods jaunt. It’s good to know that the guitar is always there, providing a means for expression and catharsis. Suffering in recent years through immense personal tragedy, Dan channels all that pain and helplessness into an extended rumination on grief and the challenge of living with permanent ache. So forget what I wrote earlier — Dan Melchior has indeed made a blues album, one fit for 2016, and beyond. - Ever/Never