The Danielson Famile’s newest imaginarium of sound, FETCH THE COMPASS KIDS, is now accessible to the public ears from Secretly Canadian. FETCH is a collaboration between the Famile and uber-engineer Steve Albini, who slept on an air mattress in southern New Jersey for several nights just to complete the task. This unlikely meeting of the minds has produced a whirling dervish of an album, one that is both crisp and deep, with multi-colors and multi-Gospel-rhythms from the Smith family and friends on a gypsy-like parade. The audio-visual genius of eldest son Daniel, who sings in a falsetto that is both endearing and jarring, brings original art to his album covers and nurse uniforms to their live show. The music on FETCH stands alone, a daring document full of groove and sympathy, peppered with messages to take more quiet time in life, to love one other, to dip hands, feet and toes into the puddles of the Lord. The genesis of the Danielson Famile, of course, is art school. The original songs in their first form were Dan, siblings and friends belting it out before Dan’s juried art professors, singing for an A on his thesis project and a chance to make it out of school alive. But one must account for earlier nights in the livingroom, nights of dad Lenny singing folk mass and Beatles tunes, with mom Marian on harmony, grilled cheese on the stove, and every snot-nosed Smith kid with their hands on something — a tambourine, a flute, a piano. There was never any money, but there were plenty of bad jokes, prayer and music. Today the Danielson Famile brings an unprecedented sound that equally recalls French carnivals and Motown jukeboxes, as the group earnestly tumbles over each others’ voices and instruments on stage, laughing inside the sleeves of their nurse’s uniforms, and singing about the endless possibilities of an intimate relationship with the Creator to anyone in the international music underground who will listen. And plenty of people are listening. Lauded by music critics (Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo, The Wire, Index) and hipsters, preachers and pagans alike; these brothers and sisters have been hammering all over this land. The Famile recently appeared in Art Forum magazine, in a Top Ten list of cultural happenings, as well as on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
“Oh where to go from now? Lead me to thee passionate tree. The Compass Kids run to the Compass Passion. Fetch the Compass Kids.”