Sitting somewhere between the defiantly confessional songs of Tori Amos, and the glam cabaret punk of The Dresden Dolls, Daniel Versus The World's debut "Remember Who You Are" is a sincere and intensely personal album; the key is to view it more as a peek into the emotional world of another human, rather than a series of garrulous confessions.
After several years of working as a solo artist and building up a back catalogue of songs and experience, this debut finally finds Daniel with a full band of DIY queer punx, with members of bands including Colour Me Wednesday and Blockfort.
From the opening track "Second Class Citizen", a comment on the prevailing dominance of cisgender, white, heterosexual men in society, to the album closer "Love Your Rage, Not Your Cage", a raucous call to arms for all queer people, these songs don't hold back in letting the world know Daniel is coming out fighting.
There are also intensely personal songs, like the Buffy The Vampire Slayer-themed "5 By 5", and "Blue Skies", songs which address depression, anxiety, loneliness and heartbreak.
From the political to the personal, these are themes tying the whole album together. But there is an underlying positivity and hope in the songs here. A belief in community strength, in friends, in our power to change the world.
The title "Remember Who You Are", a line from the pop punk-tinged "Memories Of Things To Come", calls for the queer community to remember our history, the activists and icons who changed the world. It also tells us to embrace our identities, to celebrate our individuality. Mostly, it's an invitation - to join the fight against the powerful, the rich, the patriarchal figures who make the world. In the anthemic "Molotov Cocktail Dress", Daniel makes the call - "Show Me The Way/For The World To Change".
FFO: Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, The Dresden Dolls, Antony & The Johnsons, John Grant
released November 2, 2016
Daniel Stocker - piano, vocals
Laura Ankles - drums, backing vocals
Carmela Pietrangelo - guitar
Jaca Freer - bass
gang vocals - Piab Flowers, Zoe Milburn
recorded and produced by Sam Brackley
recorded at Sam's house in Ruislip and Subvert Studios, Tolworth
mastered by Danny Gibbins