There’s only going to be one physical copy (a CD) of UK rapper Dan Bull’s second LP Face available next week and it’s going for a million quid. And I’m really not making that up. You can also download it for a very reasonable nothing-at-all until 19 March 2012 (link below) or a not-much-less reasonable £3.49 after that date. What’s going on? It’s quite simple – our man Dan is determined to get some chart action and he’s going about it with an admirable audacity – hence the whole million quid thing.
Actually, angling for chart action is a fairly reasonable aspiration for Mr Bull since he is not without considerable talent. This much is evident from his debut long player from 2009 Safe and videos like his hilarious Open Letter To Lily Allen or scathingly sarcastic attack on the BPI – see below. He is also a highly competent musician, producer, rapper and singer – not to mention self-promoter – with a huge Youtube following. Oh yeah – and there’s also been a massive Mike Skinner-shaped gap in the market since last year. Did, I just mention Mike Skinner? Yes I did, because, like it or not, The Streets’ rapper will be most people’s point of reference upon hearing anything by DB. It’s not just the conversational rap/ sing delivery or the fact that Skinner and Bull are both white, middle class and from the Midlands. There’s the penchant for synth-heavy beats, the pop-hooks big enough to land a major league record company with and the barbed sense of humour. Alright – there are quite a lot of similarities between them – but you can say that about virtually any act some of whom have so many similar sounding contemporaries that the whole issue just becomes white noise. Still, there’s a gap in the market which Bull is more than capable of stepping into and then re-shaping as his own.
Face (like its predecessor) has at least as much (if not more) in common with indie-pop and synth-rock and even folk music than it does with hip-hop or the UK garage tendencies of The Streets. Consequently, Bull’s music is less abrasive than The Streets but don’t be thinking there isn’t a sting in his lyrical tail. The LP opens, topically, with America a defence of the NHS and what appears to be an attack on the lack of public healthcare in the U.S. but is also a handy indirect way of reminding tabloid-reading British morons what they stand to lose should they continue to support a government which preaches ‘small government’ but spends more time than any before it interfering in other people’s shit. There’s also (variously) a look at the British public’s apathy in the face of government corruption and war crimes (Guilty) and a self-confessional about Asperger’s syndrome – A Portrait Of The Autist. You don’t get that from Ed fucking Sheeran do you? If that’s not pop enough for you thematically – there’s always Dream Girl – the almost sickly sweet narrative about his perfect girl friend who, as it happens, isn’t quite what she seems and a whimsical paean to John Lennon – with a ridiculous but ridiculously catchy hook.
Face is smart, clever, funny, well-produced and pop-savvy. And he’s got something to say. All Dan Bull needs to do to achieve his goal is convince someone to cross his palm with a spare million quid. Or 286 533 people with a spare £3.49. He’s got the skills…
(Out 19 March on Freshnut Records)