As an artist, you have to feel pretty good about a piece of work to name it The Breakthrough. Assuming, of course, that the title of John Daly’s latest record does refer to itself. I think so. After producing two stunning and very different albums last year, Daly is back on the 12″ trail and no doubt keen to shoot off in some new direction. Single-tracker The Breakthrough does exactly that while retaining the Irishman’s signature sound. The “new” part is borne by structure: where tracks like “Pass the Swing” or “Sea Level” felt pretty song-like, The Breakthrough is more of a wandering journey, with no clear destination in sight.
John Daly, “The Breakthrough”
This type of thing doesn’t always work, but here, it’s carried nicely by Daly’s aforementioned signature: the sheer warmth of the synthesis. There’s a huge amount happening; lucid pads soaring aloft, cascades of notes tinkling front and center nonstop, sproinging bass leaping about, and percussion shuffling away up the back. But as it all percolates about, the feeling isn’t one of overwhelming bombardment, but pleasant immersion. It’s both a testament to the Irishman’s arrangements, and another sound addition to his recently revived label, Feel Music.