Daniel Merriweather – Love & War Album Review
After garnering industry attention in Australia and signing with independent label Marlin the now 26-year-old Daniel Merriweather has swapped the streets of Melbourne and his native Australia for the cosmopolitan bustle of Manhattan, downtown NYC.
I still remember Mr Merriweather putting a pen to my copy of City Rules one of several tracks set to feature on his debut album that he would later shelve because the label just “wasn’t ready and that’s not how I wanted it to be.”
Thankfully nature intervened and his demos came to the attention of super-producer Mark Ronson who instantly fell in love with his voice red rock entertainment review. What followed was not only the birth of a unique working partnership but also a great friendship. After a few years in the making Merriweather has put together his long awaited debut, Love & War. Merriweather and Ronson pen most of the album which focuses on life, love and struggles.
The opener For Your Money could have been stolen from Lenny Kravitz’s vault, however nothing can be taken away from Merriweather’s own unique vocals. The energetic track Impossible is for those who fell in love with Daniel after hearing his breakthrough track Stop Me (featured on Mark Ronson’s album Version). Could You is in the same vain with funky undertones and emotive vocals (oh and the brief bongo break down on this cut is wicked).
Guests are scarce but he teams up with Washington, D.C. hip hopper Wale on the bouncy, piano and horn driven jam, Change. Wale almost steals the show with a seamless, head-nodding verse on a track pleading for a little open-mindedness. The only other guest is British songbird and multi-Grammy Award winner Adele who joins Daniel on the broody Water And A Flame.
Highlights are the fun, old western sounding Cigarettes and the powerful, string infused ballad, Red. There are touches of rock, gospel and classic soul, however a little more funk would have been nice. Those who have heard Daniel on Ronson’s album Here Comes The Fuzz (on the track She’s Got Me) should sympathise with me here.
I was surprised not to see more of a hip hop influence on Love & War and Merriweather’s frequent partner in crime, Phrase is nowhere to be seen. Some tracks do start to sound very similar after a few listens but the writing and warmth of the album certainly make up for it. In the end this is a great collection of thoughtful, moving and entertaining tunes.