Dire Wolfe splinter projects are like Arriva busses. You wait all year…then two come along at once.

A couple of days ago we swooned to Kankouran. Now, for your pleasure, we present once front-man Dan Croll, chief songwriter from the ex LIPA lads, who’s now doing very well thank you in the solo spotlight.

Dan Croll – It’s Always Like This (Demo) by dancrollmusic

And he’s every reason to be: Dan’s a clever chap, building sensitive, gossamer light harmonies into insistent, rousing camp-fire singsongs – think Bon Iver after a few rounds of Bourbon.

And Q Magazine are rapidly cottoning on to the fact. They’ve marked his song ‘Home’ as one of the essential tunes to download this year. And who are we to disagree?

We praised Dan’s singular style last year, noting the man’s refreshing angle on a tune: “I guess if you mean we aren’t trying to sound like The Coral or Zutons, then maybe that’s right,” he says.

Trust us, he doesn’t. He’s proof that Macca’s investment in LIPA can reap rich rewards – as anyone who caught his intimate but confident showcase, supporting Benjamin Francis Leftwich, at Mojo for Liverpool Music Week last year will know.

“LIPA’s a great place, and has really developed us all. We’ve had all this equipment, studios, and rooms available to us. But Liverpool’s great community of bands and promoters have been equally important to me. The DIY community is really strong, and we’re all friends with local bands and artists. I love the place,” he says. “Right now, I’m just enjoying myself, and hopefully good things will come.”

We wouldn’t bet against it. The lad from LIPA scooped last year’s Musicians Benevolent Fund Songwriting Award – and has put that £5k to good use, laying down his first few tracks. As good a showcase of the man’s polyrhythmic textures, and globe-spanning influences, as you could possibly hope for. If you liked last year’s return to form Paul Simon album, but you fancy something a little sprightlier, we’d direct you straight to Croll’s house.


Main image: Mary Machin / Pic: Matt Thomas

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