Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω
After dropping some teaser art on Sept. 28, Dan Mangan announced a new EP entitled Radicals on Oct. 1.
A year ago Mangan released Oh Fortune, his heavily anticipated third LP. Between then and now Mangan has sold out shows, trekking his way across North America, Europe and even Australia. Along the way Mangan picked up two Juno Awards, one for New Artist of the Year, another for Alternative Album of the Year and a Long List nomination for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize. He also picked up three Western Canadian Music Awards for Independent Album of the Year, Rock Recording of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year.
The new EP’s title, Mangan explained in an email to fans, comes from his frustrations with the superfluous use of the word “radical” in contemporary politics. Mangan continued, saying people of extreme political policies often call “moderately opposite people ‘radical’ to justify their own opinions or make themselves appear more ‘moderate.’”
The two-track EP starts with “We Want to be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down.” This track was recorded during the creation of Oh Fortune, but didn’t make the final cut as it “would have stuck out like a sore thumb,” Mangan mentioned in the email. The track starts with a hard-hitting, almost grungy, introduction delivering forceful percussion laced sporadically throughout Oh Fortune. The political nature of the song picks up where “Post-War Blues,” on Oh Fortune, left off. From the quiet, introspective verses to its powerful, slow building, belting of the track’s title, Mangan captures the spirit of a discontent public.
The next track, a cover of Yukon Blonde’s single “Stairway,” reveals an oddly experimental sound with layers of ambient sound-scapes projecting throughout the track. Although Yukon Blonde’s original version relies on infectious indie-rock hooks and upbeat vocals, Mangan’s interpretation is delivered in a much more low-key fashion. In the email, Mangan attributes his inspiration to cover the track to a “late night insomnia-inspired notion.” After one listen this is clearly evident. While the cover isn’t likely to win over any Yukon Blonde fans on the fence about Mangan’s music, it does add a new dimension of diversity to Mangan’s catalogue.
The EP will be available on seven-inch vinyl and digital download on Oct. 16. However, “We Want to be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down,” is available for online streaming and the “Stairway” cover is on YouTube.