Okay so first off, a breakdown of who’s who, let’s begin with Dan Avidan, or as he is sometimes known Danny Sexbang, he is the lead singer of Ninja Sex Party, a comedy musical duo, one of two singer in the video game themed music trio Starbomb. He was a member of The Northern Hues and Skyhill, both in the position of vocalist. Moving away from music for a moment, Dan is also the co-host of the YouTube Let’s Play channel Game Grumps, alongside Arin Hanson (who is also a member of Starbomb) and one of the stars of the YouTube Premium series Good Game, which also starred Hanson.
The Super Guitar Bros are Steve Poissant and Sam Griffin, who aren’t actually brothers, but are instead Bros. They originally met in 2007 at a local coffee shop where Steve was impressed by Sam’s skills with a guitar, and they’ve been playing together ever since. They have gained considerable popularity on YouTube for creating video game music covers, blending together classical and acoustic guitar stylings.
‘Kiss from a Rose’ is one of my favourite songs, and I can’t help but feel the inception of Dan performing this cover was cemented in this episode of the 10 Minute Power Hour. I haven’t had much exposure to the Super Guitar Bros prior to this but I’m aware that they blend in classic and contemporary guitar styles and it comes through in this, you get an almost renaissance feel to it, and man I love Dan and I love him singing this track so much. If I didn’t know that ‘Scarborough Fair’ was on this list as well this one would take the top slot outright. The guitars though, I sometimes worry I focus too much on discussing vocals in these reviews, but the Bros, Sam and Steve are phenomenally talented, they capture the spirit and melody of the original track while still making it their own.
‘Black Hole Sun’ opens with some amazing string work, a wonderful trill that blends into Avidan’s voice, which has a soulful note to it. I cannot say I am overly familiar with Soundgarden, but I listened to the original which you can check out here. Perhaps because I have no association with the original group or nostalgia for them but this cover is as good, if not better than the original. I think while I love Dan’s singing, what really knocks it out of the park is the incredible guitar work which just really enlivens the track.
‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ is a classic song from U2, and you can check out the original here. While I knew coming in I would like tracks like ‘Kiss from a Rose’ and Scarborough Fair, this was a revelation. Dan really made this song his own, his voice managed to be sweet and harmonious, while still being powerful enough to just capture you. He is supported by an easy going, and almost hopeful melody, the guitars working together superbly.
‘Nights in White Satin’ has a heavier edge to it, the guitars losing some of that hopefulness of the previous number, but swelling with intensity and bittersweet beauty. I felt that in this more than the past couple of tracks, the two guitars played against each other more, usually working to create one harmonious melody, they sort of interact and it adds a lot to the overall performance. I think this takes the top slot for me, something about it just really worked.
‘Land of Confusion’ blends in some acoustic percussion to the mix, helping to build some momentum, and Danny captures it and runs with it. His voice and his performance utilise that high energy. I like that even though the percussive beats are important to the song they incorporate some solid guitar riffs throughout, adding to the overall complexity of the track. In fact there is a guitar section that starts at about two and a half minutes in that is just perfection.
‘Aspirations’ slows things down again, which I’ve said before is where Dan’s voice really finds its home, in those softer moments we get to see what he’s capable of. Also there’s a lot of different instrumental things happening in this one, showing that even when things slow down that the Super Guitar Bros don’t, instead they experiment and incorporate unique elements that might otherwise be overlooked in a heavier, faster track.
‘Head over Heels (Instrumental)’ is a gentle instrumental interlude that hammers home again the fact that Steve and Sam are incredible musicians. This is a really good track to lose yourself in, as you drift into the melody. I was not expecting the vocal harmonies in the final minute or so, but they work as well.
‘Get Lucky’ has all the energy and drive of the original, I love this song so much and Dan does it justice on vocals, and the Guitar Bros, find their own take, I expected them to go a little more synthy but instead they create a frenzied, high energy riff that flows throughout as Dan sings. Speaking of his vocals, I think at points he’s either joined by another vocalist, or more likely they layer his voice on top of itself, which really works, it creates a harmonic quality that adds a lot to the track.
‘God Only Knows’ slows things down again after the high energy of ‘Get Lucky’ and another personal favourite of mine. Seriously though, Dan reaches those sweet high notes and the Guitar Bros capture the energy and melody of this track, while still managing to have fun with it. I think this has some of my favourite little extra bits from both. It takes a very close second to ‘Nights in White Satin’ for my personal favourites on this album.
‘Scarborough Fair’ is a bittersweet and haunting beautiful song. Dan and the Guitar Bros really understood the assignment and gave us something that is truly amazing. They find the right key, and tone and they don’t stray too far from it. I’ve listened to this song quite a lot lately, because it makes me feel sad, but like good sad, y’know? I would recommend all of the tracks on this album but I think if you listen to just one, make it this one.
‘The Sphere (A Kind of Dream)’ is another one where I’m not too familiar with the original, but it’s a powerful track and a strong closer to what has been an exceptional album. Again, and I feel like I’m repeating myself, Dan’s voice is wholesome and spirited and this relatively brief track, is soft and slow and sweet and shows off everything I like about him, while also giving the Super Guitar Bros one last chance to impress me.
So that’s what I thought of Dan Avidan & Super Guitar Bros self-titled album, and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. You can support Dan Avidan by following him on Instagram or by checking out his Cameo. Make sure to also follow his band, Ninja Sex Party on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/