Austin American Statesman / Daniel Link: "Color of Rain" (Recovering Catholic)

By Michael Barnes

Daniel Link fits no obvious Austin type. The Missouri native wrote most of the music and lyrics for "Color of Rain," a thickly arranged effort produced and mixed by Johnny Big. His sounds oscillate between pop and rock, and his subjects move through mostly spiritual or therapeutic themes, as if Link were working through some primal hurt ("My heart sought resurrection/I longed for explanation") A lot could be read into the name of his independent label — Recovering Catholic music — and the subject of his defiant, yet reflective song "Altar Boy."

Link is an accomplished tunesmith (the only dicey cut from this, his third album, is "4 a.m. Slam Over Coffee," with music by Big). But two things stand out on "Color of Rain" — Link's resilient voice, which recalls Michael Stipe's at times — and Big's arrangement of countless instruments and backup vocals, which threaten to overwhelm Link, but never do. Contributions by Jon Dee Graham, Pat Mastelotto and Chelle Murrey also raise the general level of excellence on this studio winner.