THE HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN
Island Mele Friday, April 12, 2002
By John Berger
Dan-o is a Big Island quartet with a great grasp of modern rock. The melodies, arrangements and singer Jim Major's expressive world-weary voice combine to make a great first impression. It's evident these guys have a knack for lyrics as well -- a description of graduation as the transition "from (bar) maggot to full-fledged fly," for example. This is the most memorable new album by a local rock band since the Sticklers surfaced. Dan-o addresses social issues (with "Heartbeat" and "Native Song") and the detritus of romantic social misadventures with equal skill. Arrangements are clean, varied and neatly detailed throughout. Dan-o's remake of "White Sandy Beach" is fresh and imaginative, while the band's assault on "Leaving on a Jet Plane" brings to mind the Circle Jerks' classic "Golden Shower of Hits." Bravo, Dan-o!
THE HONOLULU ADVERTISER
Posted on: Saturday, May 18, 2002
ISLAND SOUNDS By Wayne Harada Advertiser Entertainment Editor
Swayed by the tragedy and legacy of Eddie Aikau, big wave surfer and Hokule'a crew member who vanished at sea, Dan-O titles its debut CD after a song about the iconic Aikau. The album has a crisp rock sound ("JJ Foley's") that intermittently cools to a folksy flavor ("Heartbeat"). * The outlook: The Big Isle rocks; savvy blend of electric guitar with local gear like the ipu and the uke.* Our take: Book 'em, Dan-O.
HAWAII ISLAND JOURNAL
Island Beat May 1 - 15, 2002
by John Burnett
Dan-O has become a Big Island phenomenon because of the airplay given to the title track of this CD, a song about the late big wave rider and would-be savior of Hokule'a, Eddie Aikau, which was originally released on the K-Hawaii compilation CD "Big Island's Own." (see feature on Dan-O in this issue of HIJ). When the success of "Eddie," a song written by frontman Jim Major, was established locally, the band made an akamai move by going to lower Puna mixmeister Rick Asher Keefer at SeaWest Studio. Keefer, whose national credits include Heart, Marvin Gaye and AC/DC, is a guy who knows how to get the most of musicians in the studio with an uncanny ear for how music should sound.
Although K-Hawaii and sister station KAPA continue to play the original version of "Eddie," there is a new recording of it on this CD. The main difference is better production on the Dan-O CD version, with real drums instead of a drum machine.
The band includes, besides Major, Eric Wakely on lead guitar and backing vocals, Mike Funes on bass and Jim Tsuji on drums. But Major is the main songwriter and bandleader and most responsible for the sound. He is also a talented songwriter who writes sometimes ironic, sometimes sensitive and always insightful lyrics as well as catchy tunes that make Dan-O the most commercial sounding, radio-friendly rock act on the Big Island nowadays.
Besides the title track, faves include "Temperanceville," with its irony ("drunk again in Temperanceville") and "Native Song," a protest on the overdevelopment of Hawai'i and "Ball," examining the deaths of JFK, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain and others. The lyrics on Elvis Presley ("success was his failure") say it all in an incredibly succinct manner. There are also a couple of covers, but they are neither lame nor cliché. Check out the balls to the wall rock versions of John Denver's folk classic "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and local standard "White Sandy Beach" (hint: this ain't the Makaha Sons.)
This is a first-rate modern rock CD that would stand up favorably to most of the so-called alternative music being released on the mainland.