Daniel Pimentel - Selfish Songs Album Review

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Daniel is locked in his room. Although the phone endlessly beckonshim to go outside, he recedes further into his own mind - a desolate apocalyptic wasteland ripped from the pages of Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy or maybe even the Old Testament. As the voicemails on "Prologue" fade into the background, Pimentel traverses the wild with raw emotion and a six-string, his weapon of choice for battling the encroaching monster of self-loathing. 

Summoning the spirits of Jack White, The Decemberists and the thematic underpinnings of Kendrick Lamar, Pimentel's strength lies in his ability to mix get-on-your-feet rock and roll with brutally honest poeticism. "Wanderlust" and "Deus Ex Machina," the two liveliest songs on the album, introduce Daniel as a troubadour and a vagabond, searching for a savior from himself. "I long to look upon your face," croons the guilty soul. Where is God when you need him most? In the dense wilderness of Pimentel's mind, He seems unfathomable distant, and by the time the beautiful "Eros" fades in, the anger is replaced by sorrow and weariness. He might not have it yet, but love is out there... and maybe even within reach. 

With that realization, Pimentel ups the tempo a hair on "Light Blues," reminding himself that "I don't want to kill myself today." Things could be worse in Dan's head, but a driving piano riff introduces some levity to the proceedings, reaching a rousing climax with the help of a terrific horns section - harking a realization - do i really have it that bad?

Part lament, part praise, "Alleluia" answers that question. Pimentel finds solace in the story of David from The Bible, who though plagued with trials beyond all compare, still praised God for his endless provision. Like the eventual King of Israel left the cave that acted as his hiding place from Saul, Daniel finds strength in admitting his weakness. It's okay... you don't need to have it all together. God can be praised amidst the storm and the battle.

Which brings us to "Famine," the most complete and soul-stirring track on Daniel's powerful debut. With keen retrospection, he finally encounters God and presents himself for who he truly is - angry, lost and sinful - with the searing guitar solo punctuating the confession, "I'm so damn tired." Daniel's epiphany concludes that God must still be praised within the plenty and the famine because He will carry him through both. The Lord is our crutch and strong-tower. 

Gentle fingerpicking lulls us back into reality on "Epilogue," concluding with one last voicemail urging him to join the world beyond his walls. With renewed strength and spiritual insight, maybe Pimentel is ready to do just that. 

This rousing debut will strike a chord for anyone with a penchant for spiritual longing and tight guitar-rock. Recalling Eric Clapton's quest in "Crossroads," Pimentel takes the road less traveled, searching for comfort in God rather than making a deal with the Devil. Musically, I cannot wait for Daniel to loosen up and let his instrumentation wander as much as his soul, adding texture to what is bound to be a rich and illustrious adventure. I, for one, want to travel the dark roads with him. 

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Album Review By: David Vendrell 

Read other reviews and more from David at Musings & Matinees

David Vendrell

Hello, my name is David Vendrell and I’m an arts & entertainment-oholic. My journey with this disease started at an early age. My parents, the terrible influences that they are, exposed me to movies, music, and books at an early age. I became immediately addicted. I lost friends, my grades dropped, hair started falling out. Some call this shaving. I call it a symptom. When I reached those tender high school years, I began hanging with the wrong crowd — film students. We were the outcasts, ready to stir up trouble at any opportunity. Have you ever killed a man with a camera? I haven’t, but I’m sure it’s possible.Ostracized from my sober South Florida homestead, I trekked to the only place where I knew I could get my fix — Los Angeles. I started to meet other people like me while hiding out at Biola University’s cinema and media arts department. I joined up with the business administration drones too. Hey, I have an addiction to support. I worked my way up the ranks, interning at companies all around Hollywood, cooked up my own batch of stories and have started consorting with the bigwigs. I got in deep.Of course, my life is just now spiraling out of control as I have become the arts & entertainment staff writer in the misfit group called the Chimes. On the run from the law and on the edge of sanity, I’ll be delivering you material every week. Get ready, kids. You’re going to get hooked. This is hot stuff.