Oh Fortune is definitely a Dan Mangan album: clever, intelligent lyrics; dark humour; sarcasm and satire, along with Mangan’s trademark sincerity — everything fans have fallen in love with thus far. But this album is immensely different in many ways, filled with denser, richer sounds; full of experiments of texture, emotion and phrasing; stretching the boundaries of folk. (Really, what folk artist starts their album with a waltz?) A full backing band that sees the album to completion helps Mangan create a cohesive sound and vision, with each song flowing into the next.
Here, Mangan has created an exploration of topics greater than the everyday, exemplified by the curiously upbeat “Post-War Blues.” Oh Fortune could very well be a musical experiment on how instrumentation affects a song’s mood, even if the lyrics imply something different than the melody. “Oh Fortune,” the title track, carries with it a serious sense of grandeur. What makes this song so engaging is the timing and phrasing — appropriate and smart, Mangan uses it to create movement and emotion.
Oh Fortune is an album that makes Canadian music memorable. Feel your way through and take it in as a whole — each listen unveils new sounds and thoughts.