Danielson Famile
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A Prayer For Every Hour , 6.5/10
Tell Another Joke At The Ol' Choppin' Block , 7/10
Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha), 6.5/10
Tri-Danielson!!! (Omega), 7/10
Fetch the Compass Kids, 6/10
Brother Is To Son (2004), 6/10
Ships (2006), 6/10
The Best of Gloucester County (2011), 5/10
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Danielson Famile is actually the Smith family, led by vocalist Daniel Smith (a demented falsetto in the tradition of David Thomas) and based in New Jersey. The Tri-Danielson, as they were originally called, have a mission: their music is entirely dedicated to the Christian faith. The children play it with flute, xylophone, organ, percussions, guitars. The result is hard to describe (and, sometimes, to listen to). They sound like the Residents singing spirituals and gospel hymns while backed by the Holy Modal Rounders' vocal harmonies, or the Carter Family fronted by David Peel and accompanied by the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282.

When they debut, with the album A Prayer For Every Hour (Tooth & Nail, 1995 - Secretly Canadian, 2002), the "family" counts on six members, ranging in age from 10 to 22. The double album contains 24 songs, one for each hour of the day. The record that established them was the double 10" Tell Another Joke At The Ol' Choppin' Block (Tooth & Nail, 1997 - Secretly Canadian, 2001). It was humorous, fervent and manic.

The diptych of Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha) (Tooth & Nail, 1998 - Secretly Canadian, 2001) and Tri-Danielson!!! (Omega) (Tooth & Nail, 1999 - Secretly Canadian, 2001), later compiled on the double album Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha/Omega) (Sounds Familyre, 1999), is a quirky philosophical concept: highly unstable gospel music for demented arrangements (ranging from hand-claps to banjo to cheesy keyboards to a mixed choir) sung in a demonic voice.

The album Fetch the Compass Kids (Secretly Canadian, 2001) and the single Flip Flop Flim Flam (Fluevog Shoes, 2001) continue a Christian saga that has become one long tribute to unbridled creativity.

The fervor is even more secular on Brother Is To Son (Secretly Canadian, 2004), ostensibly Daniel Smith's first solo album but credited to Br. Danielson. His Captain Beefheart imitations and his clumsy folk accompaniment concoct frantic hymns such as Our Givest and Animal in Every Corner, the off-kilter chamber folk music Things Against Stuff and the vocal acrobatics Brother Son, all relying on his proverbial interplay of voice and instruments, as codified by Cookin' Mid-County. Smith's albums celebrate family and community, but could not be more (musically) dysfunctional.

Daniel Smith gathered more than thirty friends to record Ships (2006), credited to the original "Danielson" moniker. It is a psychedelic-pop tour de force, both in terms of refrains and in terms of arrangements. The sonic experience is rewarding, but so is supermarket muzak. What Smith has lost while traveling to this end of the sonic spectrum is his (artistic) soul. There is little of substance other than his skills at concocting cute ditties.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Martina)

Il gruppo Danielson Famile è di fatto la famiglia Smith, guidata dal cantante Daniel Smith (un falsetto demente nella tradizione di David Thomas) e situata nel New Jersey. I Tri-Danielson, com'erano originariamente chiamati, hanno una missione: la loro musica è interamente dedicata alla fede Cristiana. I bambini la suonano con flauto, xilofono, organo, percussioni, chitarre. Il risultato è difficile da descrivere (e, a volte, da ascoltare). Suonano come i Resident che cantano spirituals e inni gospel sostenuti dalle armonie vocali dei Holy Modal Rounders, o la famiglia Carter guidata da David Peel e accompagnata dai Thinking Fellers Union Local 282.

Al debutto, con l'album A Prayer For Every Hour (Tooth & Nail, 1995- Secretly Canadian, 2002) la "famiglia" è costituita da sei membri, con un'età compresa tra i 10 e i 22. Il doppio album contiene 24 canzoni, una per ogni ora del giorno. Il disco che li ha affermati fu il doppio di 10" Tell Another Joke At The Ol' Choppin' Block (Tooth & Nail, 1997- Secretly Canadian, 2001). Era simpatico, fervente e maniaco.

La coppia Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha) (Tooth & Nail, 1998-Secretly Canadian, 2001) e Tri-Danielson (Omega) (Tooth & Nail, 1999- Secretly Canadian, 2001) in seguito uniti nel doppio album Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha/Omega) (Sounds Familyre, 1999), è un eccentrico concetto filosofico: musica gospel molto instabile per arrangiamenti dementi (che vanno dagli applausi al benjo a strane tastiere a cori misti) cantata con voce demoniaca.

L'album Fetch The Compass Kids (Secretely Canadian,2001) e il singolo Flip Flop Flim Flam (Fluevog Shoes, 2001) continuano una saga cristiana che è diventata un lungo tributo ad una creatività sfrenata.

Il fervore è ancora più profano in Brother Is Too Soon (Secretly Canadian, 2004), apparentemente il primo album solista di Daniel Smith ma attribuito a Br. Danielson. Le sue imitazioni di Captain Beefheart ed i suoi impacciati accompagnamenti folk mescolano frenetici inni come Our Givest e Animal In Every Corner, l'inusuale musica folk da camera Things Against Stuff e le acrobatiche liriche di Brother Son, interamente affidate alla sua proverbiale interazione di voce e strumenti, come codificato da Cookin' Mid-County. Gli album degli Smith celebrano la famiglia e la comunità, ma non potrebbero essere (musicalmente) più disfunzionali.

Daniel Smith radunò più di trenta amici per registrare Ships (2006), attribuito all'originale gruppo "Danielson". E' un tour de force pop-psichedelico, sia in termini di ritornelli sia in termini di arrangiamenti. L'esperienza sonora è soddisfacente, ma lo è anche la musica dei supermercati. Ciò che Smith ha perso mentre viaggiava verso questa fine dello spettro sonoro nella sua (artistica) anima. C'è ben poca sostanza oltre alla sua abilità nel mettere insieme canzoncine carine.

Trying Hartz (2008) is a career retrospective up to 2004.

The Best of Gloucester County (2011) is as uneventful as Daniel Smith's music has ever been. He seems to find the inspiration for a minute or so in Hovering Above That Hill, but then he loses in the usual maze of trivial and repetitive folk songs with mystical overtones.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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