Dan Mangan is a husky-voiced, melancholic Canadian singer-songwriter who does all the things you expect husky-voiced, melancholic Canadian singer-songwriters to do: he implores you not to sleep alone, dear; he sings symbolically about trees and forests; he mumbles with heavy-headed vocals that urge seriousness; he stoically suggests that there’s always hope, even if it’s strangely non-evident on the song he’s singing. So far, so troubadour. However, what elevates Mangan from the current pack of indie hopefuls following in Bon Iver and The National’s slipstream is that ‘Oh Fortune’ has as many surprises as predictables. Among several highs, ‘If I Am Dead’ opens up quite bewitchingly in its final minute with a splash of gorgeously restrained horns, and closer ‘Jeopardy’ is more slo-mo Mississippi waltz than brooding balladeer. ‘Oh Fortune’ is not going to change the world, but its thoughtfulness might just confound some expectations.

By Sam Walton

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