Months ago we were introduced to a set of samples from what has now become Dan Whitehouse’s second album, Reaching for a State of Mind. Ever since then we’ve been waiting with bated breath for the final release. Now that it’s finally here we can safely say that it’s everything we could hope for and more.
Dan Whitehouse has always been eloquent with his songs, simple fluttering melodies with deep, touching and often humorous lyrics. Everything about Whitehouse’s work has a certain nuance which can’t be found elsewhere, a sort of understated nature and willingness to explore both himself and his music. Reaching for a State of Mind is undoubtedly his sound but at the same time it’s completely different from his previous works. This is more of an experimental sound for Whitehouse compared to his earlier works and indeed he has taken this sound and made it his own. Even his sample mixes have always been finely tuned but this album has a sound that is more intricately crafted and refined.
Lyrically, the album is as profound as ever except it feels on a more personal scale. It’s almost a play in three parts as Whitehouse opens and closes curtains on different chapters of life. Across the duration of the tracks you transcend different states of mind; beginning with the darker tales of self-doubt with A Dream That’s Floating Out to Sea and ultimately ending up with a tale of acceptance and belonging called Home. There are songs that pluck at your heart strings, Why Don’t we Dance? and Something in the Way are transferable songs – instantly recognisable to most of the world’s population and thus completely identifiable.
Reaching for a State of Mind has a slightly rockier edge to it than his usual fare and certain tracks such as A Light could easily be likened to US band Interpol but even with this his music is still gentle and touching. It’s sweet, uplifting and ultimately inspiring. Maybe I Too was Born to Run is especially notable as this is carries with it one of the most heartening melodies, the kind that makes you really want to get up and sing along. Despite the rockier tinge to his work it still allows for both his distinctive vocals to shine through with his lyrics to melt your heart.
Everything Whitehouse has produced to date has been wonderful but listening to Reaching for a State of Mind it really does feel like a form of musical evolution. It’s as if this is the sound he has been searching for all along and much like his closing track, he really is home.
For more information on Dan Whitehouse or to pick up a copy of the album, check out his website here:
Review by Joe Knipe