Indie singer-songwriter Dana Why, aka Dana Yurcisin, released his debut album, The Lyre, a few days ago. Self-produced, mixed, and mastered, the album stretches across 15 tracks.

Commenting on the album’s inspiration, Dana says, “‘The Lyre’ is as much of a breakup album about a person as it is about a place. I can trace its origins back to three life-altering events that all went down within roughly a year and a half from one another, from early 2015 to late 2016: a broken engagement, a move back home to New Jersey from Maine, and the start and end of the following relationship. I was unmotivated regarding anything except getting high and cranking out an obscene amount of demos.”

Over the ten years from 2009 to 2019, Dana released four albums as Static Sex. In 2020, he started dropping music under his own name. The Lyre is his first long player under the tag Dana Why.

Entry points on The Lyre include the opening track, “Glitter,” travelling on gleaming, almost jangly guitars. Once the rhythm enters, the tune projects expansive layers of pop coloration as Dana’s high timbres imbue the lyrics with wistful dreaminess.

The seamless transition from “Glitter” to the intro of “Western Cemetery” occurs on low-slung, sparkling guitars, followed by ramping up to thick, hazy guitars riding a rumbling, mannered rhythm. A personal favourite because of its shiny, contagious flow, “Route 9 After 9” conjures up allusions to The Bangles’ “Manic Monday.”

Flavoured with punk-like, hurtling energy, “Kneel” delivers edgy freneticism atop a potently thumping kick-drum. While “Jersey Devil,” arguably the premier track on the album, rolls out on hefty washes of guitars, thick and grungy, Dana’s Queen-like, dramatic vocals imbue the lyrics with ardent passion.

Dana Why

There’s a tantalizing aura about “Karla Sells Hexes,” which blends pop and rock into a stimulating sonic concoction injected with raw, casual dynamics. Another gem, “Over It,” conveys playful pop momentum along with the heady feeling of finally being “over it.”

“There’ll be no more time to find “the one” / If you’re not over it / There waits another one / To place a ‘the’ in front of / When you’re over it.”

Imaginative and stylistically wide-ranging, The Lyre reveals the emotional vulnerability and sprawling song structures of Dana Why.

The Lyre Track Listing:

1. Glitter
2. Western Cemetery
3. Route 9 After 9
4. Nigh, Be Kind
5. Misery
6. Life in Between
7. Brackett Boy
8. Kneel
9. Jersey Devil
10. Hand Sanitizer
11. Karla Sells Hexes
12. Heaven is a Highway: Black Coffee
13. Outside
14. Over It
15. Broke & In Love

Run Time: 71:00
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Record Label: Mint 400 Records

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