Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (Warners)

 |   |  <1 min read

Donald Fagen: Slinky Thing
Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (Warners)

In the first wave of FM radio and adult-rock formats, Steely Dan stood out for their ineffable cool, poised aloofness and slippery musical craftsmanship which scooped up jazz and rock fans alike.

Fagen – half of the Dan – brings many of those qualities to this solo outing, although his vocals are considerably weaker and in places this appears more personal than Dan albums (the appropriately titled Slinky Thing and I'm Not the Same Without You which open this, then later The New Breed where relationships are addressed).

Delivering his archetypal sophisticated funk and white soul-rock with warm precision and supported by exceptional players (horns, various guitarists and backing singers), Fagen ensures these originals – and the high-stepping cover of Isaac Hayes' Out of the Ghetto -- create a tapestry which is both familiar yet offers some sassy twists on what might have been a formula (the finger-snap Miss Marlene and screenplay-like narrative of Good Stuff).

If some Dan songs seemed cynical and cerebral, those qualities are rarely evident here, but as always it's the musicianship which seduces.

Not up there with early and mid-period Dan or his solo debut The Nightfly, but intricate, adult and approachable music.

At 64, Fagen still oozes self-aware cool.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lucky Dragons: Dream Island Laughing Language (Mistletone)

Lucky Dragons: Dream Island Laughing Language (Mistletone)

Hmmm, interesting and definitely not for everyone as this LA group (with a very flexible line-up) strip things right back to primitive music-making (handclaps, simple percussion, shakers, flutes,... > Read more

Freda Payne: Band of Gold/Contact/Reaching Out (Edsel/Triton)

Freda Payne: Band of Gold/Contact/Reaching Out (Edsel/Triton)

Although it was slightly ambiguous about who had failed on the wedding night, it is Freda who says her new husband should come back and "love me like you tried before". And so we... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Lizzy Mercier Descloux

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Lizzy Mercier Descloux

So who was it rocked into downtown New York in the mid Seventies with her head full of Rimbaud? Who fell in with the CBGB crowd, had Richard Hell as a partner who saw her as his muse, and whose... > Read more

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Singer-guitarist Rory Block learned directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Bukka White and others and here – through originals and retooled covers – acknowledges the great... > Read more