Every young artists I've known has wasted precious time and energy at some point in their life with break-up creations. As if the ruins of a relationship suddenly blind one to the beauty and value of the output, many horrible poems and pictures have been drawn while couplehood was in its last throes. Occasionally there might be a precious gem amongst the mud, but for the most part, it is usually just too much denial and wallowing self-pity to let most of it see the light of day.
"Angles" seems to be an excellent example of this. While I can completely appreciate the therapeutic value of making music while your heart is breaking, it is a rare occasion when that music should be unleashed on the world. It is a strange cross between serious Unicorns, and sad Will Oldham.
The two songs that could be excluded from my harsh judgements are the first and last songs.
In the last, "Give Up... And You Are Changed," Daniels admits "I can't do much more to fix this./ I can't find my way out." It's too bad that it takes him until the last song to say this, since it is evident in his voice, and its occasional thinly veiled sarcasm, throughout the rest of the album. When he then launches into the repetitive chorus of "You are changed," it is finally possible to match Daniels' tone with his words. I can see him shaking his head as acceptance of the true state of the relationship dawns on him and he realizes that he wouldn't want to continue it even if that were somehow possible.
The first song starts out mentioning a person boarding a plane and accepting the changes that will result, while Daniels gropes for words. It might make more sense to have a song titled "Goodbye" at the end of an album, but once I learned that the album was about the failing attempt to maintain a long-distance relationship, it made a lot more sense. The song itself is a masterful piece, so good that the songs that followed it left me quite disappointed in relation. It isn't a happy song, ending with about a minute of angry yelling and harsh instrument tones, but it epitomizes so perfectly the silent madness of a person wanting to restrain their lover from leaving but feeling powerless to stop it.
The rest of the songs, while following the overall trajectory that one's mind usually takes in this situation, sometimes feel like mere filler, rather than planned pieces. A few of them even skirt the line between earnestness and cheesiness (such as "Marriage Proposal").
But I must admit, I've never had much patience for this sort of thing. Even my own break-up works make me cringe, so listening to someone else's is not particularly appealing. In the end, my experience with my own and with David Karsten Daniels' is the same: I just want to stick it in a dark corner and forget that it exists. Occasionally, I may find it again, and remind myself of that pathetic time, but only to remind myself not to write about break-ups. 5/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 July, 2005)