Heartwork – Things I Wish I’d Said

Heartwork – Things I Wish I’d Said


Every Thorn
The Right Thing
Achilles Friend
Playing Dead
I Was Building An Empire
Paper & Bones
Dashboard Confrontational


I recently caught Heartwork playing live at The Swansea Fringe Festival. The 12 noon timeslot on a Sunday was a little cruel for this talented artist as crowd numbers were not that high. Well, for those that missed out it was their loss. I was very impressed with Dan O’Dell’s attitude and interaction throughout. His songs are well written, cleverly arranged and were performed with great confidence.

After the gig we chatted briefly and Dan introduced me to ‘Things I Wish I’d Said’, the first full length band album from Heartwork.

The album begins with the immortal line “The Shit had hit the fan…” ‘Every Thorn’  establishing from the very beginning that this will be an album built on true life experiences. Difford and Tilbrook will be applauding. In fact the whole album would make a Squeeze fan tingle. ‘Butterfly’ , sounding more like Tears For Fears, lifts the pace a little. This is a beautiful number, highlighting just how creative Dan is vocally. The last line “this is the sound of giving in” really strikes a chord as it is left hanging for the listener to contemplate. ‘The Right Thing’ again deals with the unwanted struggles of relationships and the mistakes of youth. ‘Achilles Friend’ is classic Heartwork, honest and heartbroken with lyrics that we can all relate to, yes Dan, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.

‘Water’, for me, is the highlight of the album. I find that the lyrics are more like a self examination, a conversation with yourself and a denial of the situation that you are in. The construction is so powerful and truly reaps the benefit of the full band sound. ‘Playing Dead’ is a back to basics song that is beautifully played and very dreamy. ‘I Was Building An Empire’ is a slight change in musical style, The drum work here almost underlines the “I’m leaving” statement and then we start to rock (a little) This is a great track that you will want to play over and over.

‘Paper and Bones’ rocks that little bit more in an almost Kravitz like start that soon morphs into The Killers. By far the heaviest track on the album, I applaud Heartwork for this. It shows that Heartwork are more than just a self regretting, self protesting outfit (and that IS a compliment by the way) They can succeed on many levels. ‘Saintlike’ is simply elegant. The ‘bare bones’ approach leaves Dan almost naked with his honesty. Simply delightful. The album’s closing number ‘Dashboard Confrontational’ benefits greatly from the full band sound. The chorus is awesome and the way the track builds and falls is just perfect.

After several listens I have to say that ‘Things I Wish I’d Said’ is a very deep and personal recording. The tracks are ‘heart on sleeve’ honest and sometimes you feel like giving ‘our Dan’ a hug to let him know that things will get better. The vocals are amazing, some of the guitar work is sublime and the playing throughout is well structured and faultless.

‘Things I Wish I’d Said’ is an album you should own, I urge you to give it a listen.

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Band location – Bridgend Wales

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