In the first hour of his weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, on 29 May 2016, David Randall chatted to Dan Reed and played tracks from the album ‘Fight Another Day’.
Frontiers [Release date 03.06.16]
When we encountered Dan Reed in Chester – acoustic guitar in hand in 2009 – we broached the subject of a Dan Reed Network reunion. At that time it seemed some time away and our chat elicited the thought that it would have to be forward looking and not retrospective to remain relevant.
At the end of 2012 the band re-convened in their hometown of Portland, Oregon for a New Year celebration and the rest, as they say, is history. Appearances at Download and a couple of short UK tours and – surprise surprise – the announcement of a brand new album.
When we saw DRN on tour in March this year it was as if they have never been away and it is the same with ‘Fight Another Day’. The key is clearly quality material and a definite zest for performance from all band members.
Whilst 1991′s ‘The Heat’ was the band’s most successful album commercially in the UK it wasn’t their most consistent. This latest offering takes up the story and 25 years of silence is quickly forgotten about.
The band featured ‘Divided’ on that recent tour and although unfamiliar was easily assimilated. The same applies to the whole album, with immediate appeal to anyone who enjoyed those earlier albums with the characteristic meld of funk and rock and with a wider social conscience than previously (‘Infected’, ‘Save The World’, ‘Eye Of The Storm’).
Those who have followed Dan Reed’s parallel solo career will know that he is a great songwriter who brings gold dust to a project and nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Champion’, an utterly compelling case for buying the album. The power chords that introduce ‘Give It Love’ recall Starship’s ‘Jane’ and underscoring yet another album highlight.
Fans will love the mix of old and new influences. Mid-tempo ‘Be There With U’ has all the charm of ‘Rainbow Child’. ‘The Brave’, ‘Reunite’ and ‘Heaven’ evidence Dan Reed’s essentially uplifting, anthemic approach with quite wonderful vocals throughout. The feel-good quotient is high on this album.
‘Sharp Turn’ combines the brilliance of Seal’s ‘Crazy’ and Johnny Hates Jazz (Don’t Say It’s Love), so rooted in the late-1980s and early 1990s just as it should be. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better the album closer ‘Stand Tall’ delivers a wonderful funk grind punctuated by Rob Daiker’s superb keyboard fills.
Some might say that ‘Fight Another Day’ is more of a Dan Reed solo album as the rest of the band do seem to be subjugated to the power of the song and vocal with Brion James notably very restrained.
But, if the band thing all comes together in the live situation, ‘Fight Another Day’ remains a complete triumph, totally relevant, and underlining a wonderful comeback that can only go from strength to strength. *****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
DAN REED NETWORK Divided
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WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND Love & Beyond (Frontiers)
MARQUIS DRIVE Shine On (indie)
YOUR LIFE & MINE Remind To Remember (indie)
EMERALD SUN What becomes Of You (indie)
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12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BUFORD POPE The Waiting Game (Unchained Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
NEVER THE BRIDE Surprise (2005)
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