Zero One [Release date 23.11.18]
‘Origins’ is an interesting concept and is perhaps best viewed as a live album recorded in the studio. Over the past year or so, DRN have recorded themselves in various studios (Manchester, NYC, Portland and Stockholm) in front of a live audience. They’ve also involved the ‘Networkers’ on the choruses. For anyone who has seen the band performing live in the past few years this will come as no surprise.
The more recent history of the Network has been one of rock’s more compelling and genuine comebacks. When we chatted to Dan Reed back in 2009 right at the start of this journey he was doubtful about the chances of a band reunion, although he was always pestered for this at his solo acoustic shows.
Perhaps indirectly, Dan solo paved the way for the comeback, not least because he demonstrated there was still a demand for the songs, some of which appear here. Fast forward to their home city of Portland on New Year’s Eve 2012, when they reformed, and their trajectory has been upward ever since.
For some older bands in 2018 they are seemingly filling a creative void in modern music and having a second chance. In the example of Dan Reed Network they not only have the back catalogue but arguably they are sounding better than ever. 2016′s ‘Fight Another Day’ demonstrated also their relevance, skilfully mixing an eighties vibe with their signature funk rock sound and with a handful of really outstanding tunes.
The early single ‘Fade To Light’ sums up the fan-friendly approach of ‘Origins’ although – as with another new song ‘Right In Front Of Me’ – the guitar riffs are redolent of something else. (Answers on a postcard).
As we’ve mentioned previously, when interviewing Dan, he doesn’t do naff. There is a consistent quality to the new material and another obvious “single” is the radio-friendly ‘Shameless’ even if in edited form.
‘Ritual’, ‘Forgot To Make Her Mine’, ‘Let It Go’ (originally on ‘The Heat’ in 1991) and ‘Rainbow Child’ demonstrate the relevance of those songs to a millennium audience and accurately reflect the band’s current live performances. All are gently updated for modern ears. And as with the previous album the performances are convincing, with joint producer Rob Daiker’s keyboards a real asset.
Dan Reed Network are frequently as infectious as Chic if Nile Rodgers’ crew had pursued a rockier route.
It took mainstream media (and fans to be truthful) a little while to catch up with Dan Reed and DRN but recent tours, festival appearances, and now the Planet Rock-monikered November tour will cement their comeback. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
UK tour (November 2018, special guests Mason Hill and Hollowstar)
Wednesday 7 November – Bilston, The Robin 2
Thursday 8 November – Newcastle, Riverside
Saturday 10 November – Inverness, Monsterfest, The Ironworks
Tuesday 13 November- Glasgow, The Garage
Wednesday 14 November – Wakefield, Warehouse 23
Friday 16 November – Pontypridd, Muni Arts Centre
Saturday 17 November – Chester, The Live Rooms
Wednesday 21 November – Stoke, Eleven
Thursday 22 November – Derby, The Venue
Friday 23 November – London, 229 Venue – Album Launch Party
Saturday 24 November – London, The Landor – Exclusive Album Listening Party
Sunday 25th November – Manchester, Club Academy
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 September 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 22 September 2020.
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