24 Sep 2020

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Danny McCrum - Album Review: Hustle Bustle

26 Sep 2019 // A review by Brendan McCarthy
Reviewing an album is both a pleasure and a responsibility so I wanted to take my time to really listen to this body of work and ensure that I gave it my honest thoughts.

The very act of listening to twelve tracks in a row from the same artist is not common behaviour for myself or conceivably any of us these days.

Our modern musical landscape is saturated with on-demand aural pleasures that are digitally available at the swipe of a touch screen. We are often buried in the playlist mind-set, fuelled by the readily available next track button, resulting in perhaps losing sight of the fact that for every song we now call a favourite, there was indeed a first time listen that took us on a magical journey.

So, I made sure to listen to Hustle Bustle on my daily commute to ensure that I could contemplate this album as a whole. And I am glad I did. After 5 full run throughs here we go.

This is not the first rodeo for Danny McCrum, in fact this is his fourth album. A milestone in itself that many musicians will never reach. Danny has been grafting away for some time now and is one of a rare few musicians that have managed to carve out a full time career in the music industry. Therefore, he is deservedly able to call on some heavy hitting session musicians and production gurus to help him capture the aforementioned magic. Jayden Lee (Alae) on drums, Alistair Meffin (Alae) on keys and Dan Antunovich (Kiwi based LA Bass Monster). The album was mixed in LA by Nick Poortman and mastered here in NZ by Chris Chetland.

Hustle Bustles’ tracks are perfectly placed to complement each other and mimic that of a live set list.

With a legitimate musical feast on the table here, there is simply too much on offer to go into every portion, so I will focus on the highlights of which there are PLENTY to digest.

The opening track Skin sets the tone of the album with some serious pop groove that manages to instantly showcase the musicians and introduce us to all the great elements that will encompass this record. A joyful live band soundscape with expertly layered drums, percussion and bass (did I mention BASS) to live for, laying the foundation for Danny to effortlessly add rhythm guitar tracks all garnished with his distinctly laid back vocal style. "Where do we begin, when were in the state were in?" asks Danny with the first of several catchy lyrical questions to come on the album. As a songwriter myself I need to make a special mention here to the bridge section of this track, which instead of being a vocal break away from the second chorus Danny has added a syncopated guitar boogie that takes the track in a great new direction before the home straight chorus. Nice work.

The next two tracks Don’t Be Late and Hustle Bustle continue to expand on the groove pop style laid down by the opening track. There be BASS here (did I mention bass!!) Dan Antunovichs’ playing on Hustle Bustle will either have you heading to the music shop to buy your first Bass or picking up your existing axe to work out what this bass master is doing down there. Class.

With Danny himself being an accomplished lead player, I expected to perhaps hear some ripping solo playing by this stage in the record, but he has kept the instrumentals between the vocals to a more reserved rhythmic style of Bass and Guitar playing octave licks in sync. This to me is a nod to his accomplished songwriting and a sign of respect to his peers.

The band are warmed up now and cruise into the mid-section of the album with slower thoughtful track Rescue, and the first of two standout ballads Can’t Find No One reflecting what may have been moments of isolation for Danny far away from home? Something we can all relate too now and then. Music is always the notebook that gives.

Following along with my set list analogy, the well placed upbeat ditty Full Speed Ahead not only gets the audience moving with lyrical demand that we "forget the consequences", but also brings forth a tasty guitar solo that is sure to be a live favourite.

With the show at the halfway stage, it is time for the mood to take a distinctly left turn with the very Harrison-esque Where Did All The Flowers Go?. Another question reflecting the isolation theme that is the potentially the sub plot of this record.

The second of the aforementioned standout ballads rolls on with the track Done All I Can. This track is a lesson in controlled mature song-writing that neatly packages all the essential elements required to have you reaching for your loved ones into a three minute execution. All class.

However, wait, here comes the guitar!

It’s time to take things up a few notches and fire up the Stratocaster with the very live sounding Mine All Mine and again like all the songs on this record, this track is all business and I find that as there are so many slices of ear-candy-cake on display that it requires at least three listens to start to sink in.

Guitars, Drums and Vocals. OH did I mention BASS!!!

All good things must come to an end and what better way to seal a great album than with some Kiwi reggae styles fused with jazz to close out the gig. Lonely For You brings Outlandos d'Amour to mind and is the pinnacle for this group of expert musicians, bringing the project to a close with more effortless offbeat grooves and harmonies. The track floats off into a musical utopia with some great jamming on display to end the show.

Hustle Bustle is an excellent piece of work from an artist who is clearly accomplished and confident with his art and will definitely be here for the long run. Danny McCrum is a gifted songwriter and musician and has a distinct style that fuses Pop , Rock, Jazz and Easy Listening.

The album will take you on an expertly guided musical journey that will have you grooving along but also pausing to contemplate and ponder its thoughtful offerings.

Nice work Danny. I look forward to seeing these songs live as soon as possible.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Danny McCrum

Danny McCrum is a multi talented musician based in Auckland. He is a highly respected guitarist, singer and songwriter, with extensive experience on stage, in the studio and running the business behind the music. He has worked with many music greats including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Tommy Emmanuel, Jimmy Barnes, Simple Minds, Bryan Ferry, Joan Armatrading, Katie Melua and more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Danny McCrum


Best Moments From A While Ago
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Hustle Bustle
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Year: 2013
Type: EP
Letters To The Future
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Say What You Mean
Year: 2009
Type: Album
These Dirty Days
Year: 2008
Type: EP
Awake & Restless
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Year: 2006
Type: EP

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