His hometown of Liverpool is a far cry from Los Angeles, but Dan Croll boldly made the latter his home in February 2018 and spent the following 12 months documenting his experiences in new album, Grand Plan. As a fresh face in LA, Croll’s latest works take us on a gentle narrative journey through unsettling new beginnings, nostalgic reflections, and an eventual sense of comfort. Grand Plan features soft and impressive guitar work throughout, carefully articulated harmonies, and the slick touch of Virginia’s finest, Matthew E. White.
The album opens with Yesterday: an homage to Paul McCartney under whom Croll was briefly mentored. A subtle groovy bassline and flowing harmonies give the song a summer guise; while the lyrics explore Croll’s inherent Liverpudlian complacency regarding The Beatles, and the subsequent feeling of an unfulfilled opportunity under McCartney’s mentorship.
Continuing themes of reflection and growth, Stay in L.A. is a theatrical, ballad-like signifier of a new chapter; where Rain pairs gentle droplets of guitar with a punchy chorus to contrast a longing for his hometown weather. A sleek guitar riff introduces Actor With A Loaded Gun which details exploring the glamorous stereotypes and truths of Croll’s new LA companions, with a hefty and relatable documentation of the social anxiety felt when trying to fit in among a new, unfamiliar crowd. The first glimpse of a romantic undertone occurs in genre-bending Work, featuring classical piano tones with choppy beats and harmony.
Honeymoon is a souvenir of the time between settling in and a new sense of unrest as the honeymoon period seems to draw near. Tropical-sounding synths caress soothing vocals in a cacophony of warming, summery pondering. The 80’s-style synths and bongo-like drum rhythms of Coldblooded make an exciting but mellow revenge track against those who made Croll’s first few months in L.A. a little harder than they should’ve been.
The album nears its close with Surreal, where a jolty, choral bridge clearly displays an ability to toy with old, familiar sounds and bring a freshness indicative of the development experienced in the 12-months that inspired Grand Plan. Ending with Together, the album concludes with a solemn dedication to the late Liverpool-band Her’s and their manager who were friends of Croll. Dealing with fond memories of togetherness despite life’s ongoing adversities, Grand Plan comes full circle with a reflective but ultimately optimistic view on life and treasuring the moments that often pass us by.