“I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I don’t get out much these days” informs Dan Mangan on “Robots”, but that is all about to change. This summer sees the release of the Canadian’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice a follow up to his EP Roboteering. Though he promises that the next album won’t be so long in production, it has already been nearly three and a half years since his debut Postcards and Daydreaming hit record shops and became one of those records that you told all your friends about.
“Smithers BC, Vancouver BC, Tsawassen BC, Vancouver BC, Toronto ON, Wilfred ON, Toronto ON, Vancouver BC”, it appears after so long on the road promoting an album has left Mangan unsure as to where exactly he comes from. However, he knows who to thank for his career choices. “My step brother had to teach us to play guitar as part of his rent.. And my mom made me sing in the children’s church choir”. Growing up on a mix of Van Morrison, The Beatles and Nick Drake has left a big impact. Mangan’s poetic dreamy musings are surprisingly catchy and his gravelly voice adds a sentimentality to the songs.
I’ve already got most of the next album written – and I’d like to follow up Nice, Nice, Very Nice a little quicker…
“There’s this girl in my math class who wears her clothes backwards like Kris Kross…”. Despite the apparent honesty in his lyrics, Mangan appears coy about his own inspirations and motivations. He admits that “really, all I want is to travel a lot, meet good people and come home to a house that I hypothetically own. The rest is gravy.” His move into songwriting came after he “broke up with a girl, went home and wrote three awful songs, then I wrote about 50 more awful songs, then I wrote a couple good ones.” Other than that, it is for the listener to draw from the music what they can about Mangan as a person, and there is enough in the songs to create an image but it is hard to distinguish between compelling storytelling and honest release.
“Well of course I’d like to sit around and chat. Well of course I’d like to stay and chew the fat. Well of course I’d like to sit around and chat, but someone’s listening in” Mangan feels that Radiohead’s “Life In A Glass House” defines him. “Does that make me morbid?” he asks innocently. It seems logical that the man of the hushed whisper and whimsical thoughts has an apparent paranoia of people hearing his thoughts. The listener’s whole experience is one of prying, Mangan clearly a private person allowing us to hear his thoughts and mixing with story telling. The creation of a mystery around the distinctly private man.
“I’ve already got most of the next album written – and I’d like to follow up Nice, Nice, Very Nice a little quicker…” Hopefully Mangan won’t leave it so long next time before we get to hear more of his compelling contemplations again. However, if we don’t hear from him, there will be an easy explaination. He will actually be “On a boat with T Pain and Andy Samberg.”
Nice, Nice, Very Nice is released on August 11 2009. In the meantime, you can hear more from Dan Mangan at his official site.