As the music world’s up-and-comers get ever-younger, Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke takes a listen to the hype behind 16-year-old Southport prospect Dan Astles’ curent rise.
In an age where just about anyone can record themselves wailing into a webcam and call themselves a band, it feels as though the ‘next big thing’ production line is farting out younger and younger hot prospects as the weeks of frantic industry-scanning go on.
It’s with a little trepidation, then, that one might approach Dan Astles on paper then, a sixteen year-old acoustic singer-songwriter for whom the majority of his output is a series of self-shot bedroom videos in front of his computer.
Yet what sets Astles apart from the glut of ostentatious young pretenders is his composure, a polish beyond his years on that material that, given his youth, must surely bely more than a smattering of innate talent for his art. It’s the same kind of prodigious confidence behind fellow much-hyped young Merseysider Paddy Clegg‘s current rise, for example, albeit far sparser, more delicate in sound.
Generally characterised either by understated acoustic guitar of pinpoint delicacy as a bare-bones backing for his dawn-like, heaving vocal, brave in its idiosyncratic heave, or by tinges of ambient, filmic electronica as on his newer demos, what underpins the breadth of Astles‘ work is the strange confidence he finds in his timorousness, as if each quivering lead lyric is matched both by intention and execution.
Perhaps the only challenge still facing Astles‘ interesting – though let’s remember still completely embryonic and nascent – current development, is some cohesion in his discography. What’s there in fully-recorded form among a littering of grainy YouTube clips and some SoundCloud demos are fascinating, yet a proper EP feels begging to be made.
It’s a good job he seems to have just got out of the studio then. We can only wait for this young man’s next move.