Drew Danburry - Geraniums
Record Label: Another Record
Release Date: November 25, 2009
Just exactly who the hell is Drew Danburry? That’s what I asked myself when I would see his name on Utah music websites. His promo pictures of him, one with a massive beard and disheveled hair and another of him clean cut, looking like a ‘40s barbershop member, complete with red suit and cane, had given me an odd impression of him. I had even went to his Myspace to check out his brand of whacky, lo-fi folk and I wasn’t sold. When his EP of odds and ends, Geraniums, had come out, I found myself curious to see what the buzz was on Drew Danburry. What I found was a musically playful, yet dead serious when it comes to lyrics musician who is be greatly misunderstood.
Geraniums begins with the roots rock send up “Sweet Ghost”. On the surface, it just seems a basic, simple rock song with open chords with a dude unintelligibly yelling but the listener can’t tell what Danburry is saying in his songs, which is where his strengths lie. Behind his simple music is beautiful poetry. “Sweet Ghost” is David-esque in his pleas (It’s not like I am only crying wolf/I’m crying everything but mostly your name, Sweet Ghost) and doubts (“Because whether you’re here or I’m not bound for the promised land/I’m still unsure of the same one you’ve planned”). The lack of mixing kills how beautiful the song really could be.
Danburry’s lyrical prowess is all over this record. Alone, his lyrics are pure poetry, especially on the vulnerable call to arms “Artex Died in Truth or Consequences, NM” (“And I get scared when you climb up onto my shoulders, but I am never giving up”) but his playful, childish approach, with the chorus of “BOP! BOP! BOP!” makes it difficult to latch onto his words. It’s almost as if he was Bob Dylan and Raffi’s love child. Despite his confusing childishness, the EP’s best moments is when he yells “Can I get a hallelujah?” to a group of people yelling back at him. Danburry doesn’t let up and shouts for the rest of the song. It’s easily the record’s best track.
A big part of Drew Danburry’s charm is that he doesn’t make slick records, which is refreshing when compared to other acts in the scene that try to auto-tune and compress the hell out of their records to “make it”. It’s obvious that Danburry wants to write music for music’s sake. To put it plainly, Drew Danburry writes children's music for grown-ups, which might be a stumbling block for first-time listeners who want a little bit more seriousness to their music. If the listener is patient enough to let Geraniums sink, either his folky, lo-fi songs or his honest lyrics will reward their time, but if Drew Danburry writes children's songs for adults, his would-be fans might not have patience enough to wait for the punch line and will look to The Nationals and Radioheads of the music world for their poetry. Drew Danburry makes good art, but much like other good artists, he will be largely misunderstood by his paradox of childish music and adult wordplay.