"Fireworks" by Danny Ansell

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"Fireworks" by Danny Ansell

Review

It's been some months since I last wrote about Danny Ansell (amazing but true considering his prolific releasing and gigging) but he's back now with his new single entitled "Fireworks" out on April 24th.

He's a very grounded artist as you know (which probably accounts for the ongoing quality of his writing as he doesn't let success go to his head) but when even he describes it as "brilliant" (and his bar in my opinion is pretty high as my reviews indicate), then you'll know that he and his band really rate this one.

 The band's perspective isn't lightly dropped in there: Danny has had the song in his solo setlist for quite some time but has bided his time recording it until "it realised its potential" which he feels has now happened after the full band (his rhythm section being of course Patrick Beard on bass guitar & Steven Shelley on drums) have been playing it since last year.

In addition to his own feeling that they developed the song fully, impetus came from Eddie Thomas of Hednesford-based band Marquis Drive (whom they've been working with frequently in recent years) who has encouraged them to let him produce tracks of theirs.

Consequently they've been working at Woodworm Studios in Oxfordshire (founded by Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention) & both "Fireworks" and "Hurry Up and Slow Down" came out of those sessions.

Joining them there were Chris Eardley who added lead guitar to each track and Leon Harrison (also of Marquis Drive and also Ocean Colour Scene & Fun Lovin' Criminals) drummed on the latter.

So there you have the ingredients: a song long & lovingly worked over & honed to perfection with a new producer able to bring an outsider's perspective to the music while knowing the band well.

So how do they fare? Well as mentioned, Danny is delighted with both the process and the outcome (who am I to argue with that?). Undoubtedly, "Fireworks" is ‘bigger' than it would have been if Danny had put it out nearer its time of creation: both the band arrangement & production contribute to that. However, most (if not all) of his songs are so well rooted in the traditional craft of writing that they sound good in stripped down as well as band arrangements: I dare say most local music fans have heard most of his more well known songs in both formats live and enjoyed them equally, if differently. That said, I see why he waited & took the route he did: this sound certainly brings the most out of the track.

His songs usually have some degree of the epic in them (even the tender intimate ones): it's his trademark and the DNA of "Fireworks" is infused with it: therefore enhancing that aspect and ensuring that it's well served by arrangement & production is what justice demands.

The band throw themselves into playing with gusto and the huge sound and performance they come up with brings me to the first comparison I've given to Danny and his band with The Who (it's possible I suppose that this was in their minds). Even the production (and I can't remember a more overtly "produced" song of his) adds effects which drive it in that direction.

He's probably aiming to equate his feelings to one of those massive celebratory pyrotechnic displays and they pull that one right off: his audiences are going to love this one in this form.

To run slightly further with The Who theme, "Fireworks" is meaty, it's beaty, it's big and it's bouncy and it'll light up concert venues this summer. In fact, it may be too big a song for all but the largest indoors ones & be warned: it may fill your house and wake up your neighbours when you play it at home.

And the further good news is that Danny has another single already cued up for July when "Hurry Up and Slow Down" will come out.

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