Dan Mangan
Oh Fortune


4.5
superb

Review

by Adrian Hertzberg CONTRIBUTOR (31 Reviews)
October 13th, 2011 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In which Dan Mangan perfects his unique craft and rises above his contemporaries.

Expectations can be quite a bother, and I expect that Vancouver based singer/songwriter Dan Mangan knows this better than most. His second LP, 2009’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice flew a little under the radar, but the majority of those in the know were blown away by the maturity and songwriting ability of the young musician. The record saw him express his emotions in a poignant and effective manner, and it connected with many 20-somethings on a deep level. He drew comparisons to Damien Rice, and for good reason; his relatable-yet-personal lyrics, mastery of the acoustic guitar, and excellent song compositions planted him in the realm of such modern-day folk giants.

Well it’s now two years later and it seems that Dan Mangan is only improving in all aspects of his music. Oh Fortune is the sound of a man truly coming into his own and perfecting his craft. The same positive things that could be said about his previous album are still applicable here: his vocals are delightfully warm and emotive and his lyrics are incredibly insightful and at times brilliant. What makes this album stand above its predecessor though is the vastly improved orchestration that Mangan sprinkles throughout the record. This isn’t to say that his previous work was lacking in that department, however, Nice, Nice, Very Nice was, in most ways, a standard folk album. He employed a string section when necessary and even mixed in some female vocals to keep things interesting, but the majority of the record was based on the tried and true methods of contemporary folk music. There’s nothing wrong with an album full of simple chord progressions played enthusiastically on an acoustic guitar accompanied by soulful lyrics, but there exists a danger of becoming stagnant and uninteresting when a singer/songwriter sticks to that formula unwaveringly, album after album. Dan Mangan is apparently quite aware of this, as the instrumentation on Oh Fortune varies greatly. The climax of ‘Starts With Them, Ends With Us’ immediately comes to mind. After laying the decidedly folky groundwork for the first two or so minutes, the song eventually explodes into a monstrous, beautiful tapestry of sounds, including a blaring horn section and some soaring strings. The result is enough to give the listener goosebumps, and the final product ends up being perhaps the best cut from this impressive album.

Other highlights include the upbeat ‘Post-War Blues,’ in which Mangan approaches anthem territory when he begins by singing "let’s start a war for the kids / a purpose for which to unite", the wonderful album closer ‘Jeopardy’ which sees him sings lyrics that any young man unsure of his direction in life, and experiencing great pain as a result, would relate to in an instant, and ‘Daffodil’ which is very different compared to the rest of the album. Mangan (or rather, the producer) distorts the vocals on this track to give it that warbled, vintage-radio sound. Being placed pretty much directly in the centre of the album, the variation in the vocals (and general sound of the music) on that track serves as yet another failsafe against his music becoming stagnant or cliché within his genre.

He need not worry though, for Dan Mangan has successfully carved himself a niche in our modern musical culture, one that can only be inhabited successfully by an elite few. Oh Fortune is an album for the disillusioned but passionate youth of today, filled with generation defining lyrics and gorgeous music. It’s been at least four years in the works, but Mangan may have finally created the true classic that we all knew was within his grasp after his magnificent second album.



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Caleb McAlpine (4.5)
bring fortune to spare...

Mike Allen (4)
What is this sorrow?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I feel like this will be a 5 in two weeks’ time. This just in: 2011 is officially my favourite year for music ever. Also, I'm still hoping Atavanhalen submits a review for this. Anyway, links:

Post-War Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9oObaqFkOE
Daffodil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5EpkRAnwfo
Starts With Them, Ends With Us (best track on the album probably, if you wanna go straight for the gold): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2wYwHvw0gM
Jeopardy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4gEiFQZZzk


Scoot
October 13th 2011


17770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good stuff

album is the tits man

FelixCulpa
October 13th 2011


1240 Comments


I sincerely need this.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

someone needs to upload a higher quality image for this album

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

the tracklist is fucked too. argh ill do it i guess.

Scoot
October 13th 2011


17770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah that's what i just said haha

mallen-
October 13th 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh man I need to hear this

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yes you do Mike, and Felix

ok i fixed the tracklist and uploaded a better jpg but the changes have to get approved, lame

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

moar love for this album please

AtavanHalen
October 13th 2011


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you so much for reviewing this. I'm so glad more and more people are experiencing Dan's music. It makes me so happy.

DurzoBlint
October 13th 2011


1180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was hoping this would get a review. Needs more love. Opening song is so good, really surprised me!

AtavanHalen
October 13th 2011


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Opener is one of my favourite songs of the year

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2011


6145 Comments


fixed the art, courtesy of amazon :P

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

DurzoBlint
October 13th 2011


1180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I whore dan mangan out to everyone I know hoping he will get more recognition. But people dont seem to
keen >_> I guess I know the wrong kinds of people.

wabbit
October 13th 2011


7002 Comments


we (couldwinaseaanemone) like this a lot less than nice nice very nice. which makes me a sad panda

mallen-
October 13th 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this rules

Josh D.
October 13th 2011


13968 Comments


I heard this guy on Comedy Bang Bang.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

like this a lot less than nice nice very nice.


Really? I think it's better.

thanks atavan for introducing me to him. you gonna review this?

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2011


23841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

LISTEN TO THIS YOU MAAAAFUCKARS

mallen-
October 14th 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sup drunky



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