The Gangland Shuffle is an album of contrasting moods. Dan Brett Rosenthal’s debut offers little in the way of innovation but still does well as an easy-listening comfort album.
The intro to the opening track, “My Head”, is a long, sprawling collection of guitar tracks that take their time coming together into a groovy riff which provides the foundation for Rosenthal’s easy-going, introspective vocals – while “Another Day Another Dollar” is as experimental as the album gets, its frenetic energy coming as a shock to the system.
After that things mellow a bit, as the Cape Town based songsmith’s folk inclinations take over. “One Day” risks condemning the bedroom DIY approach as it treads the ever-so-thin line between subversive and lazy, largely maintaining its integrity but for one vocal line towards the end which sounds more like drunken karaoke than a serious musical offering.
Other than that things hold up pretty well. The acoustic version of “Miami”, a laid-back, nostalgic song that makes its first appearance earlier in the album, has a touch of James Taylor to it as Rosenthal waxes lyrical about finding relief from a noisy heart while “Your Favourite Wrong” picks up the pace with a good dose of acoustic-guitar flair.
In The Gangland Shuffle Dan Brett Rosenthal takes a couple of experimental liberties but, for the most part, sticks to what he knows best: folk music that isn’t emotionally taxing but still provides a sense of comfort and relief from the stresses of this world.