“Having a label meant that we could get pretty much any CD that we wanted for free. Denison was the one guy that, when we went to his shows, we would always buy his CD.”
–Matt Theissen, lead singer for Relient K and president Mono Vs. Stereo
There’s something special about Denison’s music. Maybe it’s the way he curves and shapes his words with poetic clarity into something anyone can feel. Maybe it’s his clear voice, with just a tinge of urgency, rising above the music. Probably, it’s that, beyond anything else, he strikes the listener as sincere, and sincerely good. That’s a powerful effect when done right, and Denison’s new self-titled album strikes a beautiful chord, clear, gentle, and much deeper than the average singer/songwriter album.
Denison has been added to the esteemed Ashtmatic Kitty label, of which Sufjan Stevens, Mae, and many other songwriters with a cult following have emerged. It’s for good reason, too…after listening to the new album, it’s clear that, although not for everyone, this album has a very powerful voice. It’s hard to listen without being truly moved, and reflective of one’s own choices and decisions.
“Born Without the Words” is a beautiful reflection on both being young, and getting old, and what the two mean the closer and farther you travel. Pushing my way out of the ground, I’m ready for it/I’ve grown too old to die young now, I’m better for it. There’s a definite Sufjan Stevens vibe to this song, but with the quickly accessible, moving lyrics that has highlighted Denison’s career. It’s beautiful, and stands out as one of the best songs of the album. “Constant Muse” is another beauty, and every question that Denison asks himself ends up being asked by the listener about himself.
All of the songs are reflective, and although Denison is honest and clear about weakness and fear, there is a constant and strong undercurrent of love and hope that is beautiful and powerful. Other highlights, “Asa,” a cover dedicated to his new son, and “Right Behind You” is such a sweet love song that it even hurts a little bit. And maybe that’s the point. Good music has a way of slipping between the cracks of our lives, pulling us out of the mediocrity of everyday and allowing us to live in a different, deeper space. And in Denison’s case, it’s a space where we feel hopeful, grateful, and very, very loved.
Get Denison’s album on Itunes today. You won’t regret it.
Rating – 10/10