By Leah Greenblatt
Updated May 08, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s an oft-cited fact that Danielson began as leader Daniel Smith’s senior thesis project at Rutgers University; it earned him an A. Ten years on, the mercurial folk-pop auteur has shed the family moniker, if not the members themselves; wife, dad, and multiple siblings are all on board Ships. Though considered an acquired taste — his Christian affiliations, tweaked falsetto, and willfully weird compositions can be alienating — Smith still finds something oddly charming in his sprawling chiaroscuro of sound, and a sort of childlike joy in its execution.