All the more special for its spontaneous heart
Malvika Padin
17:03 25th August 2020

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By leaving behind his home in Liverpool and moving to Los Angeles, Dan Croll had the perfect experience to work with musically. On his latest record Grand Plan, the emotions and stories he encountered pour forth in a process of finding his sound again.

Grand Plan is a collection of 12 nostalgia-drowned pop songs tracing 12 months of his life – beginning from February 2018, when Croll found himself in a new land.

A melting pot of humour, love and pain, the album opens on a fond note with 'Yesterday', which recalls Croll’s embarrassing and ill-prepared meeting with Sir Paul McCartney. Then 'Stay in L.A.' delves into the unsure, creative aspirations behind the singer’s decision to leave his hometown with one-way ticket to the City of Angels. 

Charmingly introspective yet intensely relatable, Croll charts feelings of love in various ways throughout the album. Notably, he ruminates on his immediate connection with his now girlfriend on 'Work' before reflecting on his love for his homeland on 'Rain'.

He oscillates between surety and doubtfulness on standout track 'So Dark' as he recounts the positive experience of meeting new friends through a sophisticated soundscape of organ and guitars. 'Coldblooded' brings back a wash of overthinking contemplation, the heavy topic belied by an easy-going instrumental.

More about raw experiences and in-the-moment emotions than it is a slave to a single musical endeavour, Grand Plan is all the more special for its spontaneous heart. Grand Plan is a diary of thoughts and feelings, excitement and anxiety, love and pain. Croll sways easily from uncertainty about his new surroundings in the acoustic-tinged 'Actor With A Loaded Gun' to inevitable burn-out on 'Hit Your Limit' to excitement at the future on the relatable title track.

He ends the album on a bittersweet moment that's reflective of life itself as the 12-month time-limit he’d given himself in L.A comes to an end. On penultimate track 'Surreal' he makes clear his excitement at what life can bring, before delving into grief and finding light in tragedy on closing track 'Together'.

What makes Grand Plan so beautiful isn’t its understated songwriting or experimental musicality, but the far-reaching, gentle touch of Croll’s individual journey and how he takes us along for the ride with him. You feel what he feels, and at the end of 12 tracks you emerge alongside him with a desire to rediscover yourself.

Grand Plan is out now on Communion.

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Photo: Press