Music Review: Dana Radcliffe's Replacement

The first track on Dana Radcliffe’s sophomore LP, Replacement, is entitled “Wander,” an apt name to begin the eclectic compilation. “I wander and you settle down,” Radcliffe croons, a claim he upholds by fusing several musical genres—folk, rock, electronic—and a number of diverse instruments and rhythms. The result is as varied as the components themselves—mostly successful, other times less so.

“Wander,” “Walls and Directions” and “Pattern Like You” set the tone for the album. Radcliffe experiments with unconventional instrumental combinations and initially rejects traditional song composition by building up to a refrain rather than sustaining a cyclical verse-chorus structure. At times his insertion of unexpected sounds distracts the listener from the mainly pleasing melodies and thoughtful lyrics, such as the jarring electric guitar interjections in “Pattern Like You.”

Midway through Replacement Radcliffe includes an instrumental, “Patty’s Bag,” which functions as a transition within the album. The song kicks off an excellent sequence of tracks in which the disparate elements complement and elevate rather than compete with each other, most successfully achieved in “Open Arms” and “Rosita.”

In his final track “Can’t be Had,” Radcliffe sings, “I’m crossed, but I’m new / I get changing when my heart gets too blue.” The line could serve as the official tagline of Replacement, a fresh, free-wheeling exercise in folk music and a strong beginning from the Charlottesville native.