Review

Dan Brett Rosenthal drops a glimpse of his musical versatility in his debut album, The Gangland Shuffle

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.