24 Feb 2024

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Dan Sharp - Single Review: Interstellar Runaway

02 Jul 2023 // A review by Nicholas Clark

Interstellar Runaway, written with Sam Bartells, is Taupo-based songwriter Dan Sharp’s latest single. This song offers more of the soulful, blues inspired pop he has become known for. His guitar playing is in top form here, nothing too flashy, but competent and at centre stage for the first part of the tune, offering emotional builds to break up the pop single format. His gritty baritone is spirited and genuine, but a little rough in the upper registers. However, this only makes the delivery a little more emotional and I personally enjoy this perceived striving for higher notes in singers. It makes him seem more real, and less of a pop star who can effortlessly nail all the notes in a large range without any tonal change. The song here is very well produced, accompanied by vocals drenched in reverb or perhaps it’s a synth pad in the back and a band that can really drive the song forward with surprising power.

Interstellar Runaway begins with smoothly played guitar arpeggios that almost sound West African inspired like a b-side from Paul Simon’s Graceland or a Robert Cray intro. The star of the song, Dan’s potent baritone enters and just before the one-minute mark the song changes vibe with a more simplistic, rhythmic chugging that acts as a bridge to the next part. Even on the first listen, the listener knows the song is being taken somewhere denser, darker or perhaps to a more expressive place.

Fifteen seconds later, the full band emerges with a crash and propels the song up a notch. The drumming here is especially noteworthy, filled with snare rolls that almost sound militaristic in their speed, but nothing is played too forcefully. Here, I would say there are some comparisons with worship music, and I hope this is complimentary as the professionalism and power of the music reminds me of church bands, especially modern ones who know how to use expressive chord progressions to support heartfelt lyrical performances.

“So you can put me on the next train, I need an in stellar runaway, Cause there must be someplace, Where it’s not too late, not too late for us” Dan sings, or pleads, over the chorus.  These are definitely treated as pop vocals, with noticeably compression and the heavily reverb drenched vocals (or maybe it’s a synth), which creates a rich, full sound.

I would have liked a few more guitar fills, (a bluesy solo would have been nice), and by the third chorus I was a tiny bit over the repetition, but hey, it’s pop – it sounds professional and it’s catchy. Some people may well be desperate for one more chorus and disappointed there wasn’t more. There’s some real great drumming on this number, and as if willing it to happen, sure enough the fade out features the deft military snare drumming.

This song is ready for radio rotation and I’m sure for fans of his work this will not disappoint. Comparisons could be made to early Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes and also the greats such as Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. I could see someone like John Mayer writing something very similar to this and I would assume Dan is a fan of Mayer. New Zealand’s Willy Moon may well have penned something like this.

Interstellar Runaway is a powerful little pop tune sure to grab the ears of fans of these artists and more. As with most professional music I can see this song being used in a tense scene in a romantic comedy film. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.


About Dan Sharp

Taupo-based songwriter Dan Sharp serves up honest, hard-hitting and impactful tunes.
His soulful songwriting and lyrics are the foundation on which his rich, gritty vocals and guitar thrive.

With musical inspiration that ranges from early guitar-blues through to more modernly produced soul, pop and folk, Dan's sound and style of writing is well rounded, mature and thoughtful. His early work reached the ears of acclaimed NZ songwriter and producer, Thomas Oliver, who has produced Dan's upcoming EP.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dan Sharp


Water Went Away
Year: 2021
Type: EP
Slack Tide
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Ad Lucem
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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