New Music,

By Jay Armstrong

Dan Rico - Let's Go Back - ArtworkSitting alone at lunch yesterday; from a nearby table facing mine, alone as well, a stranger, mid-twenties, dark hair, dark glasses, normal, looks up from his phone, “doesn’t it seem that the world is about to explode?” I, weary of the weight and potential of insanity which could follow by making the rookie mistake of an inviting response, “I don’t think you’re alone in feeling that way.” “Sorry, I’m not trying to go off about anything, I’ve just been sitting here scrolling through my phone for ten minutes and all of the tension seems insane to me.” “Do you feel it’s irrational?” “Not really but that isn’t what bothers me. It’s just how both sides are either buried with fear of the change which comes with acknowledging a problem or absolutely enraged by the lack of willingness to meet in the middle for a conversation about legitimate issues we should be addressing.” I agreed as I felt in a real way what this stranger was getting at. Short of a few soft words back and forth about the helplessness of it all for those of us breathing in the moment that was the end of the conversation.

Dan Rico stands on a foundation of hinted nostalgia, a sense to the shape of his songs, his words echoing down the chamber of nearly familiar in our subconscious, our hearts catching the rhythm of his aura often before we have waded fully in whichever song is new he has created. It may have only been four years since his self-titled but WOWEEE has it been a lifetime of emotional, cultural, communal, political change within and around us.  Certainly it is nothing new to feel the age of evolution in the individual soul and look back reminiscing over the last ten years before the last ten years have passed (I believe Ben Folds wrote a song about it) but now for the first time since probably ’70 there is more to romancing back to the bygone, the optimistic, the naivety of what we could collectively be, than the hope for a tomorrow where through strength found by bettering ourselves as individuals would we join those along the way doing the same, reaching headfirst collectively with big ideas and bigger plans into a tomorrow we could mold through sheer ambition into the emotionally sustainable best we imagined with our feet in logic and our hands grasping tangible plans. The present so weighted so condemning the only thing natural left to feel is that pull towards looking back. So here we are now in a moment where reflection reminds us with flooring power just how prophetic Herman Hesse was in Magister Ludi when he wrote, “if we ever think of the freedom we possessed and have lost….. we may well feel the greatest yearning for those days, and imagine that if we ever had such freedom again we would fully enjoy its pleasures and potentialities.”

Rico with now expected minimalist poetic prose matches his words this go ’round with bare lain instrumentation to deliver a personal yet all encompassing expression of the social societal malaise and the personal regret of the wasted fingertip bygone days to give us on “Let’s Go Back” an all in it togetherness, Stand By Me ending credits, sort of song which within seconds sets creeping tears trickling from our reminiscent hearts. Sure sad songs are easier to write and wane personal, especially compared to the better moments of rock n roll Rico has given us before, rarely though do they have the higher demanding respect found in the acute unique examples such as this. One should be weary of anyone who can’t relate or respect Dan Rico’s  vision on this one.

Dan Rico – Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook

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