For Fans Of
Dan Campbell, whom most of you would know from The Wonder Years (and for those who don’t, they are a band as opposed to this being about some resurgence of a child actor from the TV Show), has released his first solo project, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties. Campbell‘s debut release comes in the form of ‘We Don’t Have Each Other‘, a concept album about this poor guy named Aaron West who, according to these songs, has had better days.
On opening track ‘Our Apartment’, we learn that Mr. West is about to go through a divorce, and from here things continue to go downhill as he struggles with depression, loneliness and even a beating, over the timeframe of the following year.
Campbell has moved well away from his day job, trading electric guitars for acoustic and pop-punk for folk. It’s a relatively standard move for artists or this scene but Campbell enlisted Ace Enders of The Early November to produce the record and make sure that his roots style Americana is done right.
Which it is, this is storytelling music and Campbell tells a very compelling tale, which forgives the fact that genre wise the record does not stray from its indie folk setting. It doesn’t really need to however as Campbell will have you taking every step with Aaron West, your heart breaking with his along the way.
There are some interesting points throughout the record which look to progress the genre, ‘St. Joe Keeps Us Safe’ for example, which washes its strings in a fuzz and distortion that grits everything up, run over with some smooth slide guitar to re-align the style.
Additionally, the album single ‘You Ain’t No Saint’, a horn laden aggressive little number that explodes with colour and some great percussion, provided by Wonder Years drummer Mike Kennedy, that gives the end of the album an energy that shows, despite all the crap he is going through, Aaron West maintains a little fight.
Dan Campbell’s first solo effort is a definite success. The interesting idea that is ‘We Don’t Have Each Other’ is executed extremely well and leaves you ready to hear what is next for Aaron West
1. Our Apartment
3. St. Joe Keeps Us Safe
4. Runnin’ Scared
5. Divorce and the American South
6. The Thunderbird Inn
7. Get Me Out Of Here Alive
8. You Ain’t No Saint
9. Carolina Coast