CD Review: Daniel Boys – So Close

“Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens”

Daniel Boys’ album So Close is not a bad album per se, it just tends to the inoffensive far too often for my liking. There’s little variation on offer across the whole collection really, but nor does he really seem to challenge himself vocally. Part of this reflects my feelings towards him as a performer, I’m not completely convinced that he has the greatest emotional range: what he does he does very well, perfect for everyman roles like Princeton in Avenue Q but I do feel like he’s been very similar in everything since then. I want to see him break out of the mould and perform, and sing, in a completely different way.

Thus I couldn’t help but feel that his interpretative skills are not quite enough on show, bringing little to the table on classics like ‘Nature Boy’, underpowered both vocally and in its odd, crackly arrangement or newer songs like Stiles and Drewe’s ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers’ (although I don’t think I will ever accept anyone but Gareth Gates singing that song!). His comfort zone is clearly in elegant balladry, best typified by ‘Better Than I’ and ‘So Close’ from the Disney film Enchanted is another success here. But balladry can also be bland and Boys falls into an easy listening groove too easily, tracks like ‘Annie’s Song’, ‘I Hope You Dance’ and ‘Always There’ merging into a beigeness of generic feeling, well sung to be sure but not inspiring in any way or indicative of Boys as a personality or a performer – I suspect they come across much better in a live setting..

Things perk up towards the end with ‘Un Dia Llegra’, perversely singing in Italian brings out the expressiveness in his voice and he’s never sounded more appealing. For me it was too little too late though, and I can’t say I’ll be rushing back to listen to this album, the song selection is obviously personal but it just isn’t interesting or varied enough and I would have liked to have seen him explore modern musical theatre writing a lot more. That said, if you’re more of a fan of Boys and/or are into Josh Groban type-singers, you could well enjoy it.

If you can only download one song, make it… ‘Un Dia Llegra’

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