Album review: DAN REED NETWORK – Let’s Hear It For The King

DAN REED NETWORK - Let's Hear It For The King

Drakkar Entertainment [Release date 17.06.22]

In 2022 all we need is some live music and a Dan Reed Network album.

This is the band’s third album of their more recent renaissance following 2018′s ‘Origins’ which sprinkled some new stuff along with re-workings.  And if they’ll never quite recapture the sheer novelty and vibrancy of 1989′s  ‘Slam’ this comes pretty damn close.

Always with great songwriting, sweeping, anthemic melodies and rooted in “the groove”.  Plus of course a social and political awareness.

‘Pretty Karma’ is a stonking start with all these expected elements whilst ‘The Ghost Inside’ is led by a dramatic Brion James riff.

‘Starlight’ – an early single/video – was inspired by AC/DC after Reed was travelling back from watching their concert in Berlin.  The lyrics inspired by those obsessed with seeking fame via social media.

Along with bands such as FM and Winger (who respectively never quite hit the big time or sustained their success “back in the day”), Dan Reed Network have found their own niche in the millennium;  an example that true talent (and decent back catalogue) eventually wins out especially if they can regenerate in near original form.  But, as previously alluded to,  I can’t help thinking that many revivalists are simply filling a creative void that exists with some modern rock music and younger bands.

‘Supernova’ reflects this dichotomy, the internet has been a great leveller but it’s not quite the same as an era when bands had to prove themselves to an A&R person and producer and then benefit from a budget and more widespread radio airplay.  Enduring anthems as well as careers were made as a result.

The quality of this band is such that the four opening tracks could have all been singles and garnered airplay back in their heyday.

Only the title track sits proud of much of the material.  The lyrics dominate, and originated in the late 1990s when Reed ran a night club, and rail against oppression and tyranny. Personal preference of course but I remain unconvinced by the use of radio announcer style voiceovers which are also used on several other tracks.

Fortunately we get back on track with a slow burner written by James ‘I See Angels’.  It has all the hallmarks of classic DRN.

‘Homegrown’ melds heavy riffs and electronica and there’s even a saxophone!  ‘Stumble’ reminds us that a late-1980s review described Dan Reed Network as a cross between Prince and Bon Jovi.

‘Just Might Get it’ is one of two Rob Daiker (keyboards) co-writes and sits well with the other, a bonus track on the CD, ‘Last Day On Saturn’.

‘Where’s The Revolution’ is a return to the band’s bump, grind and groove heyday whilst ‘Are You Ready’ and ‘Unfuck My World’ pile on the characteristic gut churning and insistent riffs.

The consistency of this 60 minute album is incredible, the messages all positive.  This is just what we need to restore a semblance of normality.  Take Dan Reed Network with you.  A guide perhaps but, indisputably, a damn good groove too.  ****1/2

Review by David Randall

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2022 (NB Dates rearranged from February/March)
The Garage, Glasgow
Tuesday 30 August 2022

The Mill, Birmingham
Wednesday 31 August 2022

The Warehouse, Leeds
Thursday 1 September 2022

Rock City, Nottingham
Friday 2 September 2022

Grand Central Hall, Liverpool
Saturday 3 September 2022

Academy 2, Manchester
Monday 5 September 2022

Electric Ballroom, London
Tuesday 6 September 2022

Tramshed, Cardiff
Wednesday 7 September 2022

Engine Rooms, Southampton
Thursday 8 September 2022

Search Dan Reed at GRTR!

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