Review: Daniel Markham – Disintegrator

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There is a restless energy that reverberates throughout Disintegrator, the third solo album from Denton, Texas singer/songwriter Daniel Markham. Shrouded in a diaphanous casing, the songs on Disintegrator exist in the blackened outskirts of town, their solemn narrators — voicing insecurities, anger and self-motivating couplets  — are illuminated only by passing headlights or lurking eyes.

The dreamlike tension hits from the start with the title single, where Markham sings, “40,000 middle fingers / Only some were meant for you,” before quivering strings and pedal steel drive the loner of “Slayer Tapes and AM Radio” through the night.

While the surrealist “House of Death” and the treacle-coated backhand of “Lover” are patented Marhkham, the musically amorphous Disintegrator finds Markham again backed by his band of regulars, including Ryan Thomas Becker, Tony Ferraro and Grady Sandlin, who, along with multi-instrumentalist Scott Danbom (Centro-matic, Sarah Jaffe) and violinist Petra Kelly, delve beyond the REM-inspired sound of 2013’s Ruined My Life and 2014 follow up Pretty Bitchin’ into power pop on “Zelda,” post-punk electronics on “Land of Men” and new wave pomp on “Show Me What You Got.”

Emerging from the thundering haze of “Right as Rain” and its unfeeling thousand-yard stare, the nervous verve of Disintegrator is released into the world on wistful closer “Mosquitoes,” a haunting lullaby of fluttering instrumentation and plunking midnight drones that succinctly epitomizes the art of Markham the musician.

With clipped songs and a staccato delivery that slowly seeps into every pore of one’s soul, Disintegrator is Markham’s most accessible album to date — not to mention his masterpiece.

Stream Disintegrator and purchase the album on vinyl, CD and digital formats below.

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