Album Review: Dan Bettridge - Darker Days

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When I heard the opening track of Dan Bettridge's début album Darker Days, I was initially worried that it was going to be a bit of a boring affair. The problem that usually arises with the singer/songwriter material is that a man and his acoustic guitar may not always be the most engaging of pairings; it takes something really special to hold my attention for more than three minutes.


Then, Bettridge's vocals kicked in and everything changed, because this guy has one of the most obviously raw talents I have heard in a long time. His voice manages to take a simple acoustic tune and turn it into a piece of musical mastery. You could quite easily replace that acoustic guitar of his with a combine harvester - it would still sound utterly brilliant, simply because of his voice.


This 4-track EP is such a wonderful start to this young Welshman's career, as it shows just how much he is capable of. While the acoustic chords themselves might not be the most complex of affairs, it works so damn well because it allows him to focus on his voice and lyrics - and that is the real deal breaker for me, when it comes to this EP: his voice pushes him past the boundaries of being just a normal singer/songwriter, to being a real future talent.


Each and every song is filled with so much passion and admiration for what he does, that it is truly something to be impressed by. The main single off of this EP, ‘Darker Days’ is a perfect example of this, each and every line is thrown out with such love. This is only made more emphatic with the addition of a piano, replacing his usual acoustic guitar. This shows something rather special, in that he is comfortable ditching the guitar altogether if need be to create a much more varied sound.


This EP is just a complete and utter joy to listen to. It isn't too dreary and depression, while it isn't upbeat and happy by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it holds the balance perfectly, as Bettridge creates an aura of calmness. Darker Days has the ability to take a student who is smack bam in the middle of his 10,000 word dissertation, who is freaking out about life in general, and calm him right down. It is the perfect way to chill out, and that is the number one thing that you can ask for when listening to a singer/songwriter.


Although this EP is only a sign of what is to come, he has managed to reach such a high level that some artists don’t reach in their lifetime. Personally, I cannot wait to see what else this 20-year-old from South Wales has to offer. It can surely only get better.


Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.


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