Danielle Durack
Escape Artist


5.0
classic

Review

by Shamus248 CONTRIBUTOR (120 Reviews)
February 22nd, 2024 | 1 replies


Release Date: 02/16/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I'll be staying gold for you."

A couple wash cycles, that sh*t don’t even smell like him anymore.

Spring is my favorite season. I love what it represents. When I see blooming flowers, greener landscapes, and elongated sunsets, I can't help but feel a sense of renewal. For me, those elements still stand a ways away, but as far as the calendar's concerned, we've only weeks to go with winter. That excites me. While January 1st might be customary for most, those pretty April and May days are where I find my own reset button. I can already see the "ice caps melting."

I wonder how Danielle Durack feels about the impending solstice. In Phoenix, Arizona, it's currently seventy-four degrees and sunny. What us Pennsylvanians won't see for months, she has right now. I wonder if she wishes she could breathe in a milder spring; same aesthetics, but a good ten notches lower on the thermometer. I wonder if she even gives as much of a sh*t about it as I do. The man on TV who gets paid to be wrong half the time probably doesn't care this much. I can't help it. When I listen to Danielle Durack's new album Escape Artist, I start to blossom anew.

Escape Artist is intimate and plaintive, yet purposeful and triumphant. Even in its most lowkey or solemn-presenting moments, it glistens and perseveres. It sounds like someone who's turning the corner and coming out the other end. It's an olive branch for someone like me, who could use a second wind right now. Danielle is not defined by her past trauma. It informs her decisions, but does not stunt or hinder her growth. This rings truest on the opening cut "Shirt Song," where Danielle finds herself wearing her ex's threads. It's easy to reach for the most physical remnants they left behind, isn't it? But "life goes on....Life has shown me I’m stronger than I thought," she calmly but not irresolutely proclaims. As Sebastien Dermamet's electric guitars play like streaks of lightning across the sky, Danielle shows us that you don't need to scream to say something with your chest.

On "Ice Caps," we get a glimpse into a potential new courtship. "I like when you're looking at me," Danielle teases with a subdued playfulness. While she doesn't know what the future holds, she seems buoyed by the possibilities; "I don’t know how it’s gonna end, but I got a feeling." Even still, though, recovery isn't always forthwith. Trauma can take away your trust and dampen your disposition. On "Good Dog," Danielle likens herself to a loyal companion patiently pining for someone who's not coming home. She seems at odds; "I think I'm better off alone," she admits, before lamenting that "what I want is you back home wrapped up in my arms" a few beats later, backed by gracefully landing keys and drums.

"Worms" is what it sounds like when you just simply need a break. "I opt for softer poisons kinder than your love," Danielle barbs at her former muse. The track juxtaposes itself from the solemnity just a bit; Jake Gillespie's drums and Levi Murray's guitars erupt on the outro for the most instrumentally pronounced composition we've seen thus far. As we trek forward, the sunlight starts to emerge once more, like on the live and luscious-sounding "News" where Danielle promises "My heart's been broke, but I'm not standing where I was" and "The Door," which sees her sweetly urging the listener to "keep fighting til you can’t no more." Danielle herself seems to be getting more comfortable with the peace in her midst; "I’m spending time alone, but it’s really not a problem."

The melancholia reaches a crescendo on "Dean," where Danielle finds herself face to face with someone who, by her own words, was "loved and important." As someone who themselves recently endured a profoundly serious loss, this song arguably more so than any other on Escape Artist is the one I found myself the most in. I'd be here for days trying to enumerate each individual lyric and how it resonates if I could, but the passage that sticks out to me the most emphatically is; "You gave me all my dreams. I’ll be staying gold for you." With this, the story elevates from a simple proper goodbye, to a promise of keeping steadfast for our fallen friend. "Moon Song" closes the album in a similar headspace. Danielle initially talks of setting her sights on "Venus or Mars." She only entertains this fantasy for a moment. She knows that she, like the rest of us, is trapped on this blue and green marble. But once again, it's not a story of defeat. It's a story of hope. "I’ll hold onto hope cuz it’s all that I got," she tepidly yet firmly declares in this curtain call's waiting moments. Just as we began, with Danielle's words first and foremost, Escape Artist takes a bow the same way.

It's not every day an album comes along and elucidates your own feelings and finds the words for them that you yourself had trouble piecing together. But that's what Danielle Durack's Escape Artist does for me. The soundscapes are dreamy and sometimes understated, but the songwriting will transfix a dagger through your heart if you let it. I'm only too happy to oblige, though. I needed the reassurance that someone understood what I was going through. Even when you find your childhood eyes, life will try to knock you down. I'm sure all of us have pondered if those distant stars house more than the spirits of those we've lost, if they harbor a "kinder" place "than this earth could ever be." But of course, gravity (and perhaps a pinch of unfairness) keep us here, so we may as well make the most of it. As I listen to Danielle's words, and as I reflect on my own journey to this point, I think I owe it to my departed friend to live as full of a life as I can.

As that wanted warmer weather looms over the horizon, I can hear the harbour bell. I know the sorrow and struggle are not permanent. I'm ready to pick myself back up.

My heart's been broke, but I'm not standing where I was.



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user ratings (2)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Jash
February 23rd 2024


5017 Comments


I adored her last album, but the first two singles from this left me underwhelmed, hopefully I’ll like them more in context with the rest of the record



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