So many musical artists, so little time… DK1, based in St Albans, have been knocking around long enough to release a fair stack of albums, some of which are in the process of being re-released and none of which I’ve heard. ‘Coulds & Shoulds’ is a new release, however, and seems like a fair introduction to the world of an artist who isn’t big on biographical info (which is no bad thing). It’s a varied album which showcases a range of songwriting styles and forms, and while there is an air of the homespun around some of the songs, there’s a self-awareness about the whole album that contributes much to its appeal.
The fact they’re not afraid to dig deep into the personal – and in doing so, taps into the universal – is laudable, and similarly, the fact he isn’t preoccupied with self-censored niceness – something so many singer-songwriter types seem to get bogged down in in the belief that profanity and anything remotely challenging will limit their appeal on the local circuit, adds to the appeal.
‘Itty Bitty Sh*tty Committee’ makes for a strong start, addressing the hash criticism of the internal monologue. ‘To You, My Tiny Friend’ is perhaps something of a companion piece, a ‘humorous’ reflection on how much better he felt once the drugs – prescribed for anxiety –
Lead single ‘Skinny Jeans’ ponders how it would be ‘for a guy in his 40s (or 50s) to try to get back into the current world of dating’ and ‘speaks to anyone who has ever felt they’re not cool enough or out of touch’. I’m cool and far from out of touch or single, but as he picks off ‘the gaggle of the hipster beards’ and the ‘skinny kid at the bar’ eyeing the focus of interest, the observations of the social scene resonate to an extent. It’s pitched against a nagging guitar and shuffling beat that works nicely in context.
‘Bump’ – a song inspired by ‘a guy who wanted to have a fight with me because he stopped dead on a crowded train platform and I bumped into him’ – comes on like a cross between Pet Shop Boys and Dubstar, and showcases DK1’s pop nous.