When you create an EP, a body of work which ultimately represents everything you have worked for, you may strive to accentuate your work by having a polished production team on board and Dan Stock seems to have a fucking good one. The title track, produced by James Bagshaw (Temples) and mixed by Marta Salogni (renowned for her work with Bjork and Sampha) may have helped Stock put Milton Keynes on the map.
It is easy to spot the worst of the three songs (and it’s not that situation where all the songs are great and I’ve been forced to label one song the “worst”, but rather this song is quite evidently the worst). ‘Baby Valentino’ wishes for an eclectic drop and prominent riff after the lyric “worlds collide” but it just drifts off into a poor chorus, held together by strained vocals rather than the extravaganza of trumpets and drums and reverb that you would expect.
‘Have You Heard The News’ is a song with a meaningful vibe and the simplicity of the track puts a spotlight on the lone guitar – to make it complex would be to ruin. Stock’s aims are for you to concentrate on the delicacy of the lyrics. His vocal tone echoes that of Willie J Healey, a desirable asset as it is delicate but powerful. This song is blissfully sweet and lets your mind wander carelessly, so carelessly, in fact, you may fall asleep; not in boredom but in peace.
‘Take It Too Far’ supposedly represents “a relationship so fragile it can be undone in an instant” and there is a certain level of drama that lives within this track. Whether that is in the hint of violin during the chorus or Stock’s mesmerising, melodic vocals.
This EP, in general, even with its flaws, lays the foundations for a great career. He’s barely out of his teens, he doesn’t need to be getting everything right yet. To fully appreciate the work of Dan and his production team, it needs to be in a festival setting with flares fucking manifesting your lungs in the Courteeners manner we all adore. He’s got the attitude, he’s got the tunes. Stock just needs to keep doing what he’s fucking doing because he’s clearly got a talent for it.
Words by Harry Mangham