One of the best parts of going off the beaten path in the world of music is the pure joy one gets from discovering new artists that really help expand and go beyond one’s typical music tastes. It is especially great when you find one as young and exciting as Nottingham’s Dan Ottewell. Even at 17, his music brings with it a maturity that shows a promising start for a long career ahead.

This is the case with his new single ‘Moon Project’, a dynamically rich acoustic led piece of music that showcases elements of indie and Britpop to create a nostalgic, yet refreshing take on these genres.

The introduction sees said acoustic guitar and Dan’s vocals bring in a welcoming, though melancholy listening experience. However, a more aggressive use of a single open D, carries a darker undertone to the song, even as early as the opening verse. The chorus is relatively simple, and concise in its message; it’s short lyrical phrases really give the music a chance to breathe, and the listener a chance to really soak in what’s being said, making for a strong first impression to it’s first third.

Something else the song does very well is the clear sense of progression throughout its runtime. If the first section is one of softness and restraint, then the following section is one that showcases more angst and frustration. This comes across in Dan’s more aggressive vocal style and guitar playing going forward.

I also can’t write this without mentioning the use of string instruments in this piece. Their introduction in the second verse acts as a welcome accompaniment to the quickened pace of the guitar and vocals. However, once we get to the second half of the seconds verse, the more erratic use of strings really helps accentuate the darker side to this song, therefore making it stand out and really elevate it to a far more memorable listening experience that showcases some really good range in songwriting ability.

The restraint shown not having a second chorus following the second verse is a welcome one, as it keeps the pace of the song up and really gives more of an impact to when the chorus comes back in at the end of the song. Instead, we get a middle 8, where all the elements of the music really come together. The notes played on the string instruments become brighter and show a more confident direction in the song. Though the second half of the guitar solo is a weak point for me personally, I think the way the strings are incorporated here really balance it out and therefore never outstays it’s welcome. The final chorus is the culmination of everything this song has been building up to, and the catchy chorus comes back to bring the song to a very nice crescendo.

Overall, this is a great song. The range of emotions in its differing sections showcase a very capable songwriter, and a demonstration of someone very confident in their abilities. I look forward to seeing what comes next from Dan Ottewell, and I’m sure more and more people will come to echo this same sentiment.