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DANIEL DOCHERTY Broken Bird gets 6/10


Daniel Docherty

Broken Bird
[PIAS]

6/10

Singer-songwriter Daniel Docherty started out busking on the streets of Glasgow, and it shows in his sound. While the self-sufficiency required to be a busker can be both freeing and intimidating, it makes sense Docherty was drawn to the craft. Given he came from a large family of six siblings, he possibly felt the desire to be separated from communal expectations, and truly be his own person. 

Docherty now brings us his second single of 2020, Broken Bird, with a mix of earnest vocals and exquisite guitar that resembles British folk artist Ben Howard; and looking further back, his countryman John Martyn.

In his own words, Broken Bird is “about reflecting on the relationship and coming to the painful truth that it is not what it once was.” This is common ground for an indie-folk musician, almost parodically so. It’s a familiar template, of love found and lost with the painful intricacies laid bare.

Considering this, it’s hard to denigrate the Scottish troubadour. Lines like “I just wonder if all/ Our love was fake/ And did you love me at all/ My sweet mistake?” are vague but earnest enough. The line “Like a broken bird is falling/ try to land on somewhere safe” is repeated throughout. Docherty transposes the travails of human love onto the bird. She is hurt and broken, and just looking for a haven of comfort after everything. 

Broken Bird is plain indie folk, melancholic and timid. It won’t offend, but it’s too safe to transcend either. The singer-songwriter category is a difficult one to distinguish oneself and more will need to come from Docherty if he’s to be noticed above the parapet. 

CONOR LOCHRIE

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