Friday 2nd February 2018 sees the release of South African singer, songwriter, guitarist and 2017 WRC Best Blues Rock performance award winner Dan Patlansky’s self produced ninth album 'Perfection Kills'. With an up and coming UK headline tour in March supported by Mollie Marriott, could this be the album which see’s him make the step up from a supporting act to some very big names (Bruce Springsteen, Joe Satriani and most recently Joanne Shaw Taylor among them) to a top of the bill star?
The album opens with 'Johnny' telling the story of a troubled childhood, leading to the same in later life, it has a strong chorus with fuzzy vocal effects, more Rock than the Blues we are accustomed to and it’s a strong start. Piano is introduced as the mid tempo 'Never Long Enough' brings things down a notch. It tells us how life on the road comes with the sacrifice of not having enough time with the ones we care for (as do most jobs, but probably easier when you get to do what you love) and longing for the mundane. It’s a good song, even though it’s a bit hard to sympathise! The mellow 'Mayday' follows, with its smooth, late night Blues feel, complete with building guitar solo which shows the versatility of the player, a personal highlight and instant ear worm which leaves you singing it long after the track is over.
When in doubt, write a song about the state of the planet and what we are doing to to it. Probably the heaviest song on here, 'Too Far Gone' is a protest song covering these standard themes. Suffering from a lack of chorus and unoriginal subject matter, fuzzy guitar and shouty vocals, all make up the sound of someone who is, perhaps trying to hard on this particular track. From the heaviest song comes the Bluesiest. 'Judge A Man' covers all the usual downtrodden themes, but is a return to form with some great guitar and vocals, showing just what DP is capable of, this is much more like it! 'Junket Man' is another good strong song, with its Rock/Blues style it would be at home on any Joe Bonamassa album and could become a crowd favourite when played live. The same could be said for 'iEyes' this time with a Funky bass line and more of a band feel, whilst bemoaning the ever growing importance of technology, this song would probably work just as well as an instrumental.
Returning to the mid tempo, downbeat feel 'Shake The Cage', with its don’t get stuck in a rut sensibility, has the feeling of a filler track and as such is a pleasant if standard album number. The penultimate song could be the one that brings mainstream acclaim and wins new fans as 'My Dear Boy' is just crying out for radio airplay. Instantly catchy with a great chorus it's the first song on the album to celebrate happiness and the joys of life, and is perhaps unsurprisingly a song for DP’s new born son, Jack. It seems that the best was saved for second to last, as the final track is rather a disappointment. 'Dog Day' once again, revisits standard Rock star issues (state of the world versus state of individual lives) but with lyrics like “stood in poo, smell like shit from scraping my shoe” this has the feeling of a track that this particular album could do without and as such,is not the closing number the album deserves! A good album, with some great playing, it has the feeling of an artist maybe trying too hard to do everything himself, when maybe some help (especially in writing stronger songs) would allow the real talent on show, time to breathe and shine through.