It seems it has been a less than easy three years since the release of Dan Croll’s debut album. He recently tweeted that a couple of years ago he was uncertain if he would ever make another record. Despite Croll’s initial success with support tours alongside Imagine Dragons and Bastille, and several of his singles featuring on prime-time television adverts, he has remained rather an underdog in the indie pop world.
Croll has taken his time teasing awaiting fans single by single and connecting with them through a strangely intimate project called #DialDan, a chat-line open to conversations with the artist himself about anything and everything callers have on their minds, as inspired by the escapist attitude towards his second album.
If first album Sweet Disarray was a coy and sanguine introduction to Croll, Emerging Adulthood is a fitting title for a more mature and confident sound that moves beyond stories of fickle loves and university life. This sophomore offering deals with heavier issues of mental health, self-doubt, and fear of the future all to a backdrop of glistening pop.
It’s clear from song titles such as ‘Sometimes When I’m Lonely’ and ‘Do You Have To?’ that Croll has lost some of his idealism and the weight of those three years is present as Croll sings “I’m facing more than just twenty-four”. However, when the pace slows down so does the quirkiness, and many of the steadier songs fade into the background of the album.
‘Bad Boy’ is the stand out track, featuring a Bombay Bicycle Club-esque build up and singalong chorus about getting the kicks out of a rebellious relationship. Although Croll admits the not-so-perfect nature of life, he explores the various means of coping with this, from infatuation to perseverance. ‘Educate’ and ‘Away From Today’ are highlights of Croll’s self-consolation and are full of fuzzy falsettos, demonstrating an impressive vocal range from Croll, and soaring choruses enough to take you momentarily out of your troubles.
Although nothing is particularly surprising, Croll has stayed loyal to his trademark novel range of peculiar instruments, cow bells and jingling keyboards included, which is what makes his music so listenable. Perhaps not as memorable as his previous work but a playful slice of escapism nevertheless.
Photo credit: Genius <https://genius.com/albums/Dan-croll/Emerging-adulthood>