Fresh out of grad school, Daniel David is ready to make music. He's starting off with his four-song EP, Unrest. Written and recorded over this past summer, David's offering wrestles with faith and doubt and how we find hope in that struggle. He does this against the sonic backdrop of acoustic-based alt-rock (think a slightly stripped down Relient K). Each song tells a unique story, yet all work together toward exploring the unrest that David feels as an adult trying to make sense of a crazy world.
Things kick off with the fast-paced "Facts That Contradict," a song that struggles to find God through the "night" of life, yet notes "In the void a Voice replied/Son, I've always been here by your side." "Mistook" contains the EP's most engaging acoustic riff and considers the challenge of really knowing what God wants from us and how easy it is to mistake His will. The lead single from the project, "Sleep," comes next and deals with the ways stress can hinder peace from being in our lives. Chase Tremaine makes a guest appearance on this track, offering a tasty solo to accent the pleading nature of the lyrics. "Pillar of Salt" slows things down considerably and examines a toxic relationship that slowly builds a feeling of self-loathing. While the metaphor behind the "Pillar of Salt" makes sense, it doesn't quite stick the landing. Hearing that phrase from a Christian immediately conjures up Lot's wife and that's not what David is going for. As such, it's the one track that stumbles lyrically.
Musically, however, Daniel David makes a strong showing throughout. The style has that rock edge but is softened nicely with the acoustic guitar, making this EP one that could easily find some spins at the local coffee shop. Aside from some assists from Tremaine, David handled all the instrumental duties. Aside from guitars, all other instruments are midi-based. The EP is mixed well enough to where a casual listener wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Someone paying closer attention, however, may hear it (the drums were the most noticeable for me). Still, each track is unique and brings its own flair to Unrest, making for a fun listening experience overall.
There's been a sharp up-tick this year in the amount of artists talking about the stresses of life. Sure, artists have always done that, but it feels more pronounced here in 2023. Daniel David adds his own take with this EP. What keeps Unrest from falling by the wayside among the year's other offerings, though, is its brevity. Each song adequately states its problem, offers a little hope, and moves on. As a taste, it's tantalizing but satisfying as well. Between the cover and the EP's sound, this is a great listen as we enter autumn and could all use a little rest.- Review date: 9/11/23, written by John Underdown of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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