4 out of 5
Label: Really Records
Produced by: Rick Johnson (recorded by)
Dan Potthast makes it seem so simple. Craft some catchy tunes, croon and harmonize and shout at appropriate times, be willing to rock out, offer up some clever but accessible lyrics… Dan makes it seem so simple, and it’s so pleasant – your head bobs mindlessly, your toe taps automatically – that it’s easy to pass by; to mistake for some casual singer-songwriter, singing some sweet and generic love tunes. And I get that, but Dan’s simplicity is also infectious; the dude has such an earnest edge to his voice that it bursts past the wall of background noise and gets you to listen in for a few moments, to smile at how would-be generic lines on said lovin’, or more serious matters, or more humorous matters, stroll down seemingly predictable rhyming avenues before taking turns into something especially clever, or so well visualized that you can suddenly feel the atmosphere informing a track, or just automatically vibe with whatever emotions Dan is currently – and enthusiastically – putting out. And then while you’re bemused by all that, the music does its own little jig, jumping from acoustics into rocking out rather hardcore, or swerving into elements of metal, all while maintaining its baseline of intense catchiness.
To The Lions starts rather simple, and if you’re not listening to closely, it’s your loss if you walk away during these simple moments. Once the record gets to the B-side, every track is a damn hit, though, and when you inevitably go back around for another spin, suddenly the A-sides gentler lead in is just as good, and an important sonic parallel to when Dan P. and crew start to rock out a few more tracks in.