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CD Pre-review: Whelm by Douglas Dare


The 12th May will see the release of London-based Douglas Dare’s debut album Whelm, a heartfelt selection of ballads in the traditional definition of the word. With a focus on the lyrical, these are poems set to music, and as such, they will be released alongside a book entitled ‘Nine Poems’. Dare sings over lilting and resonant piano which verges on being discordant; his voice contains softness, sweetness, and a sense of yearning which comes not from vocal strain but palpable emotional strain. Whelm, he tells us ‘feels like a fitting title. To be engulfed. To be buried. To be whelmed,’ and he’s right. That’s exactly what the album does – waves of piano and bass wash over you like a sea through which Dare’s voice moves like a swimmer, effortlessly rising and falling to stand out from the other instruments. Whelm incorporates songs from his live set alongside newer tracks created especially for the album, the jerky and almost hesitant percussion contrasting with the smooth vocals but at the same time somehow complementing them perfectly.


Douglas Dare will be launching Whelm at Birthdays in London on the 16th May.



Poppy Turner
Originally hailing from Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, Poppy is currently based in London. Music and writing both play a big part in her life, so it would seem natural to combine the two. When not writing about music or going to gigs, she writes poetry and studies at Queen Mary, University of London.