by Philip Moss
Having slowly forged himself a cult following through a series of well crafted records, Daniel Knox released his most critically acclaimed to date – Chasescene – last year. And now, on its follow up – mini-album, I Had a Wonderful Time – the former late night projectionist is at his most cinematic.
Opener, Vanishing Site, lulls you in with its childlike imagery and simplistic melody, as Knox’s silk covered gravel voice falls somewhere close to John Grant. But as quickly as the piano led tune emerges, it fades away into a dingy, rambling collage.
Hollow again sees Knox’s voice at the forefront, but where Chasescene resembled the chamber pop of Scott Walker’s earlier work, it’s the darkness of his later, more experimental creations that are evoked here, as evocative synths marry with tinkling pianos and distant, controlled wails. The most immediate cut though – Room Key – is ironically its most macabre. Yes, it drags its heels, but the eerie space allows Knox’s weighty voice and heavy subject matter to cut right through.
If you’re familiar with Knox’s Instagram account, there’s a real kinship with the way the songwriter captures the ‘nothingness’ of his home city on late night walks, and the groaning spaciousness of this far too brief collection.
Secret Meeting score: 80