Club Meds constitutes the fourth studio album for Canadian musician Dan Mangan—the first with Blacksmith as his backing band—and takes a departure from the songwriter’s folky style into more abstract musical genres. Attempting to convey a darker, atmospheric flair through eclectic melodies and slow vocals, the album falls spectacularly flat, coming off as lazy and unenergetic as Mangan meanders from one track to the next.
Every song sounds gratingly similar to the last, beginning and ending with non-musical beats and sound bites, which feel like an attempt to sound innovative or challenging, but instead, bleed together into an indistinct mess. This of course isn’t helped by lackluster lyrics, which are marred by pretentious quotations that carry less depth than probably intented.
The welcome exception to all this is the album’s excellent second single “Mouthpiece,” in which Mangan reverts back to his more traditional folk-rock style, making the album briefly come alive with energetic guitar strums and seemingly more attentive vocals. However, this only serves to highlight the failings of the rest of the album. Ultimately, where other musicians like Ryan Hemsworth and The Weeknd succeed in toning down their music to complement a great atmosphere, Mangan fails, coming off as boring and generic.