Daniel Fjall

Honest But Modest/Tramps Like Us Rating: A-
A young Swedish lad with a big future, these 2 EPs clock in at only 32:56, but Daniel Fjall definitely delivers quality over quantity. Aside from the first song, anyway, which comes and goes in barely over a minute and is easily forgettable. Honest But Modest then takes off on “Run Away,” which features all of Daniel’s strengths. First there’s the voice, which is hushed and affecting on even the faster songs. However, like most of his songs, this piano ballad has a slow tempo, an unfussy, atmospheric sound, and a simple but effective guitar solo to go along with a singable chorus. Even better is “The Drapes,” which I already raved about on the WRC comp. album, before “Like Me” closes the curtain on the first (all too brief) EP with a very Dylanesque (I’m talking recent Dylan) song that has a nice late night ambiance. The pace then picks up on the more recently recorded Tramps Like Us (Daniel’s a big Bruce fan). “All We Got” is more upbeat, in large part due to a sprightly mandolin, while a pedal steel guitar enhances “Most of All,” an atmospheric ballad that again echoes Dylan. An upbeat mood returns on “Soft and Clear,” a catchy rock song The Boss would be proud to call his own, while “Blues #73” is a very modern take on the blues that brings both Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn to mind; props to Claes Nilsson for his first rate instrumental assistance throughout. Finally, and fittingly, an acoustic guitar, church-like organ, and Daniel’s ever-present whispered vocals make “Say Goodbye” a more-than-satisfactory, if low-key, album closer. Perhaps it’s a little too easy to spot the influences at times, and Daniel could use a little more diversity in the vocal department. However, these are mere quibbles (need a manager, Daniel?), for music fans who appreciate strong songwriting and performances (the production is just lo-fi enough) will find much to like here. Recommendation: Combine the 2 EPs into an LP.

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