Rousing and raw, Dan Sultan’s latest delivery exudes his affinity for stripped back and simply beautiful songs. Dirty Ground was born from a collection of tracks he has held closely for some time now. Written around the same time as his acclaimed full-length album, Blackbird, Sultan felt the songs would be better served on a release of their very own.
The EP oozes with a steadfastly soothing Australian sound, leaving an uncanny simplicity to shine through. Recorded in only a day with Way of the Eagle’s, Jan Subizewski, Dirty Ground features co-writes in iconic Aussie legends Paul Kelly and Paul Dempsey (two Pauls are better than one). The striking nature of this EP not only showcases Sultan’s versatility as a songwriter and musician, but also further solidifies his ability to glide seamlessly from band member to solo performer.
The EP opens with title track, “Dirty Ground”, a melt of intricate melodies teamed with Sultan’s unmistakably bucolic vocals. The song is heartfelt; laden with the kind of hypnotic simplicity that grabs your immediate attention. A perfect opening for the EP and a clear introduction for style and sentiment throughout.
‘Man On TV’ is a slightly more upbeat (and hella catchy) tune. Again, Sultan’s incredible timbre is the hero of another strikingly simple song, beaming effortlessly atop of acoustic guitar. ‘On The Lefty’ is easy listening to the core, showing a softer vocal styling. A catchy chord progression carries the song through to an incredible build before the track closes as gently as it begun.
Following on, ‘The Same Man (acoustic)’ has an infectious warmth that is immediately felt. The only acoustic track on the EP, the vocals do not possess the same spacious and distant feel as previous songs. The lyrics are relatable and the song makes an easy connection, emanating a relaxed feel.
Closing with “Gullible Fear”, there is a palpable difference. With a distinctive piano accompaniment, the dark keys shed a completely different feel. The song has an immediate depth and the instrumentation serves as a lush accompaniment to Sultan’s vocals.
Dirty Ground is a testament to Sultan’s ability to produce a body of work that although simple, is full of intricacies and beautiful nuances that bring the collection of songs together. The raw and stripped back nature of the songs enable his greatest instrument, his voice, to be heard in all it’s might.
Dirty Ground was released on November 7th via Liberation Music.