Dan Sheehan manages to do what so few have accomplished in recent years -- present a new and compelling vision of rock.
With his deep voice and penchant for mid-tempo anthems, Sheehan lays out a complex, Shakespearean world where God, man, and
nature all interact in a cosmic pie of joy and tragedy. He sums it up quite nicely in "The Valley."
"Standing on the mountain of indignation looking down into a valley of ignorance. Trying to predict the two world's outcomes,
unable to determine a difference. Why does it all have to be so trying, living in a world full of amazements?
Trying hard to balance our soul's desires between our mind's and God's and the government's."
Mr. Sheehan took a unique approach to recording this album. He laid down basic tracks with only a drummer
(Spencer Cobrin and Roi Star, depending on availability) and himself on rhythm guitar. He then erased the guitar tracks
and built up the songs playing all the instruments himself. Sheehan proves a master at layering, melodic lead guitar, and tempo shifts.
Paeans to virtually everything abound on this fourteen song CD. In "If I Had the Time," the singer marvelously expresses personal disdain.
"I could really hate you. I would really hate you. I would hate you so much if and if I only had the time."
As the title implies, "Rock Song" describes life as a rock. "If I were not a rock I'd be just a grain of sand,
brushed aside by footsteps as they redistribute land. If I were not a rock, I'd be unable to stand. I'd be blown away like
dust in Aristotle's hand." I love it when he shouts "Rock on" just before the guitar solo. In "Comatose," Dan Sheehan describes
the conflicting impulses that often leave us powerless to act. "Sifting through the memory banks of some forgotten day trying to
recover the thoughts lost along the way... Driven by imagination unfueled by inspiration. Caught up in contemplation, or is it
just hesitation? Like creatures running blind looking for what we cannot find. And as we delve into our minds, we find our passions
have resigned." The rocker "See Kay" details the incessant fighting of two brothers in a band (patterned after Curt and Cris Kirkwood
of the Meat Puppets). "Epic Fantasy Adventure Song" describes a battle worthy of "The Lord of the Rings." But as a mother calls her
young son into dinner, you realize it's just a daydream. In "Collateral Damage," Sheehan rails about modern warfare and censorship
to the sounds of bombs dropping in the background. "An orphaned boy who's lost both arms is an image for the rest of the world to see.
But here in the good old U.S. of A. we only see what's chosen by the folks in D.C. Now rectify it! I'll testify it!
You're selling cheap but we don't buy it. Now justify it! Don't just deny it! There's no demand but we still supply it!"
On a lighter note, someone should pick up the haunting instrumental "Another Morning" as a television or movie theme.
How refreshing to hear an artist so full of imagination with the guts (and musical chops) to tell it like it is.
"The Dan Sheehan Conspiracy" harkens back to the sixties in content and sound, most notably, the Jefferson Airplane.
Pick up this CD, marvel at its tales, and open your mind to the world around you. You'll be glad you did.