"Dan Bryk, Asshole" is the 1996 debut album that went a long way in establishing Bryk in his native Canada. Inspiring plaudits from a wide variety of press (Asshole made the Toronto Star "Discs of '96" list), a ton of Canadian college airplay and CBC exposure, culminating in Dan's 1996 CBC RealTime session, some of which eventually appeared on his long-delayed second album Lovers Leap. The slackly cult-hit version of "She Doesn't Mean A Thing to Me Tonight" appears here for thrill seekers.
Recorded piecemeal in numerous studios and contributor's homes, this 12-track release spans a wide range of sounds and influences. From the poisoned indie-rock bubblegrudge of She Doesn't Mean a Thing To Me Tonight to the grade nine confessional (In Praise of) Mark Turmell, these are catchy melodic pop songs whose immediate hooks reward repeated listenings with subtler and deeper meanings.
Deceptively simple piano and organ-based arrangements evoke classic pop and alt.rock low-fi, striking a rare balance between disciplined songcraft and punk-pop energy. Alternately melancholy and angry but almost always direct, Dan Bryk's awkward voice wraps itself around his songs like the sheath for a knife. The album was mixed and recorded with Toronto production hermit Jim English, who sculpts some timelessly unique sonic spaces for it.