Lake Saint Daniel – Small Thoughts

Daniel Radin's sincerity shines throughout.

Label: Take This to Heart Records
Released: 8th March 2024

Lake Saint Daniel is the nom de plume of Future Teens’ Daniel Radin, and if you’re acquainted with the warm and open-hearted tone of the day job, then much of ‘Small Thoughts’ – in substance, if not style – will be instantly familiar.

Radin’s sincerity shines throughout, to the point where cuts like ‘Real Darkness’ and ‘Faithless’ feel like a comforting hug from a plush blanket on a particularly bleak and biting day.

And while Future Teens’ punk-tinged pop sound is direct and indie-disco friendly, here, lush instrumentation, slide guitars and wondrously deft arrangements fill out the sound, building on Radin’s hushed vocals and adding colour and verve.

The lyrical introspection reflects the intimate compositions, too, whether that’s on the awkwardness of fitting in (‘Glory Years’), loneliness and distance (‘Strange Timing’) or growing older (’33’). Radin’s poetic take on circumstances often makes for a crushingly beautiful marriage alongside such rich music, especially on the quite breathtaking – and choking – ‘Death Instructions’.

Punks going solo and finding their storytelling chops is a tale as old as time, but only a few find their feet, so surely over just a couple of albums. At points, ‘Small Thoughts’ might recall the poetic lyricism of Paul Westerberg or John K Samson – this is storytelling of the highest order, after all – while at others, its immediacy and pop nous walks the same path as that forged by Matt Pryor’s New Amsterdams, Mike Kinsella’s Owen or Jacob Ewald’s Slaughter Beach, Dog. For such nominated ‘Small Thoughts’, that’s not bad company to keep…

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