What follows is a track-by-track breakdown of Book of Shadows, the newest release from Santa Fe-via-Austin musician Daniel Link. Produced by local badass Jono Manson and the artist himself, Shadows is a semi-rocky, mostly slow 11 tracks that aren’t bad per se, they just aren’t great.
“Brave the Outside”
Think Tom Petty meets Pink Floyd on this one. There’s a semi-spacey/semi-bluesy guitar hook found throughout, and the lyrics describe a world full of close-minded weirdos who revel in their own laziness and apathy.
This song is a little weird, and it seems like Link grasps for any words that rhyme. I’m not crazy about lyrics, but I can totally get behind the thought of someone making me their entire world…who can’t?
I don’t know Link personally, but this song seems to describe a very important lady. I get the feeling that Jillian is having a hard time, and the barely-there piano makes you think of those important folks in your life who might need help. Man, I should call my mom.
“Last Day of Winter”
Link goes soft-rock for this forgiveness anthem. Sure, we might hear this thing sandwiched between John Tesh and that terrible, “you had a bad day” song, but the greatest thing a song can do is connect with the listener. Who among us hasn’t given too many chances or gotten burned?
“Seven White Moons”
Have you ever stared at the night’s sky hoping that there is someone out there just for you, and maybe they’re doing the same? Well, so has Daniel Link. And he proves it big-time—ballad style! It’s a poppy number with sugary-sweet harmonies, more of that ethereal piano and a downright adorable sentiment.
I’m supposed to tell you this tune is in regular rotation on KBAC. “The Spell” totally reminds me of Fleetwood Mac if Fleetwood Mac came up in a city like Austin. There are all kinds of pretty little flourishes that totally suit the tale of a dude who can still feel the electricity surging through his body from that fateful first kiss.
“Save Me a Place”
It’s weird that I said that Fleetwood Mac thing, because it turns out this one is a cover of a tune written by Lindsay Buckingham. It’s poppy, it’s catchy and it’s a cool cover choice when you think about how it’s a little more obscure.
“The Dark Art of Obsession”
This track is musically forgettable, but could be perfect for a movie about a stalker.
At this point in the album I thought I had accidentally started back at the beginning. Near the midpoint, it gets kind of rocking, but the cool vocal harmonies and catchy guitar work unfortunately can’t save this song from being kind of boring and making Link seem like a one-trick pony.
“Book of Shadows”
The album’s titular track opens strong with an interesting guitar hook, but it quickly deteriorates into yet another slow jam. Link describes a man who tries to let things go and give the benefit of the doubt, but continually gets hurt. This is kind of how I feel about the album at this point.
The slower-building piano and guitar here makes me think about how all the parts are present, but their sum lacks that spark that makes music worthwhile. Book of Shadows will totally do it for some people, but those in search of a varied piece of work should probably keep looking.