Dan Zalles New Album ‘Recalibration’ Out Today December 8

Imagine if you took the old rock and roll format and gave it the same polish that pop music is formed and finished with, you know, softened the edges and made it more user-friendly. What if you also took a leaf from that genre’s book regarding accessibility and infectiousness? And then, what if you said, okay, rock ‘n’ roll, its a bit stuck in its ways, don’t you think, what if we threw in some grooves and moves from other genres, a bit of jazz eclecticism here, a soulful trumpet riff there, some space and understatement. Suppose we stripped rock and roll down to its essence and built it up again but did things differently this time.

Well, if you did all that, you might very well end up with an album like, the aptly named Recalibration, the new long-player from Dan Zalles. Sure, he kicks off with a title track that conforms to a lot of the traditional rock and roll ways, but to some degree, he is just softening you up for the more left-field and outsider sounds that follow.

There are songs which seem to be delivered straighter, I’m Sorry For Saying I’m Sorry, has the frisson and energy of a new wave song, and lyrically, it wouldn’t have been out of place in the Elvis Costello’s bumper book of wit and wisdom, and Lumination High is an excellent slice of pop-rock. But between such songs, there are sassy funk-soul numbers such as Privacy, spacious, shamanic moments such as Quantize Me and the almost Vaudevillian swagger of Words, a song that Randy Newman would have been proud of.

If you look up “eclectic” in the dictionary, there aren’t any words, just a picture of Dan Zalles and a link to his next gig. Go on, look, I dare you.