Where the USA has Brooklyn, Canada brings Vancouver to the table. This northern hotspot for great indie/folk music has been churning out band after band for quite some time now. Tegan & Sara, Hot Hot Heat, Japandroids and Said the Whale to name a few. But now we talk about Dan Mangan.
This Vancouver resident got on the radar with his debut album, Postcards & Daydreaming. It was his brilliant 2009 record Nice Nice Very Nice got him a wave of new fans and ultimately, a Polaris Music Prize. One solid album later (Oh Fortune), and now we have “We Want To Be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down,” a recently released single hinting towards a promising new LP.
Right off the bat, this song is uncharacteristically loud, with sharp snare drum rolls sounding like gun fire from the start. Soon the shots calm down and it becomes more typical Mangan. For those familiar with his albums, you will see this track as a continuation of Oh Fortune, and less so Nice Nice Very Nice. The stark difference between them is instrumentation. Nice Nice Very Nice was great, but almost all acoustic guitar and drums. In comparison, Oh Fortune and this single both have large assortments of instruments, more crescendos then you can count, and a different, more confident attitude.
The crescendos comment was serious; this song builds itself up over and over again. The first half of the track alternates between soft lyrics and blaring drums, while a chorus chants: “We Want To Be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down” for the entirety of the second half, making for an all-around new sound for Mangan. This shift from soft spoken crooner to bold indie folk singer fits Dan Mangan great, all the while, we the listeners reap the benefits.