Dan Mangan’s Postcards and Daydreaming is the soundtrack to an evening of wine sipping and soul searching. The first of the album’s twelve tracks, “Not What You Think It Is,” is a wonderfully atmospheric song. Mangan’s deep, gravelly voice is accompanied by the warm harmonies of Amy Arsenault (featured throughout the album), the tasteful trumpet of local jazz musician Ryan Naso, and cello from Finn Manniche (Van Django).
The ambience of Postcards and Daydreaming leads from one song to another with stand-out tracks like “Unnatural Progression,” which tells the tale of a disillusioned soldier with its sparse, simple instrumentation, and “Journal of a Narcoleptic,” which showcases the sweet, fingerstyle guitar of Simon Kelly and a cello riff that builds to an emotional climax.
Mangan’s lyrics are an important aspect of his art, but sometimes get lost in the drama of the music. Given that his songs don’t have a regular verse/chorus/verse structure, it’s not always easy to follow the story set out by his words. However, this is what makes his music interesting and gives it a fluidity. While “Fabulous” is repetitive and the weakest song on the album, it is followed by other more subtle and stronger tracks like “Come Down,”
“Reason To Th ink Allowed” and the acoustic guitar and vocals in “Some Place to Come Home To.”
Postcards and Daydreaming is an amazingly polished first effort for such a young performer, and marks a solid beginning to what will be a successful career for Dan Mangan.