July 13, 2006

Darren Hanlon

By Jenn Rogers

This could turn out to be a shallow attempt to force people to like a man who can write a song called "(There's Just Not Enough Songs About) Squash". Now, I don't have any sort of addiction to Squash, I don't in fact think I've ever even played Squash, but I do have a definite addiction to quirky singer-songwriters and Darren Hanlon fits the bill. A poor figure if we consider musicians are meant to be rather attractive, but another Candle Records sign up (expect to hear a lot of them), Hanlon remains the only artist I've ever seen that can get girls screaming for the Banjo to come out.

Unsurprisingly, from how this review started, Hanlon's strength comes from his lyrics and his unique way of seeing things. A simple love song, in his hands, becomes a perfectly confusing mess of tangible images and insecure neurosis which seem even more attractive than they usually do in the hands of a musician. Suddenly, the most mundane things (see Squash) are worthy of their own songs and the most subtle references to pop culture slip in, never surrendering to the fear of all the "intelligent" artists out there –- that their music might just be too smart for the average person. In fact, sometimes his lyrics are so good, I find myself lagging behind in the melody to make sure I just got the joke from the rhyme before. Another point for Darren, he is also the only artist I have ever seen make people laugh aloud with his songs, not just the witty stage banter in between. Considered part of the underground pop scene in Australia, his simple guitar tracks are just that, never complicated and there's something genuine and honest in his music. Which unfortunately remains a point of difference when image appears to drive so much.

+ she cuts hair
+ (there's just not enough songs about) squash

Hanlon's Myspace - complete with three songs, all available for download.

According to googlism.com 'Jenn is awesome dot com',' a very cool kid' and also 'the #1 nyc antifolk musician 2002'. Apparently, Jenn Rogers has been making a lot of international flights from her home town of Sydney, Australia and has been far busier than she ever realised.

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