Album Reviews
Band: Dan Reed Network

Title: Origins

Label: Zero One Entertainment

I was filled with a sense of trepidation when I found the new Dan Reed Network album to review through my letterbox, mainly because I was expecting new songs aimed towards the political / World affairs that seemed to be overflowing within Dan Reed himself over the last few years, so how surprised was I when I heard those magic words 'Brion, let's drop the politics and Rock this place up'!!!  Yes folks, it seems that DRN may have just rediscovered their funk / rock mojo on this 'new' album 'Origins', though I do use the word 'new' a wee bit loosely, as four songs here are reworked oldies along with four newbies for us to really enjoy.  What I really like and applaud the band for, is the fact that they very kindly got their fans involved in the making of this album, which took place in 4 different studios, Blueprint Studio's in Manchester, The Power Station in NYC, Nia Studio in Portland, Oregon and Studio 4 in Stockholm, where fans watched the band record the new tracks, but also took the opportunity to record their own gang-like 'backing chants' on some of the songs, which must've been a dream come true for them!

The opener and single 'Fade To Light' is a moody piece that Brion James composed in Honduras, but within that 'gray moodiness', there's a song of hope emerging, and the fact that the 'choir' joining in on the chorus only strengthens that feeling, as it does on the first of the 're-workings', 'Ritual', the Manchester mob giving their all on the 'whoa oh, hey aah's', the sound of this old fave being more intense and 'live' if you get my drift.  'Right In Front Of Me' is like the old skool DNR, upbeat, chanted chorus and a feel-good, up-tempo beat that will get those feet a-tapping along to without you really realising you're doing so, and as far as 'Forgot To Make Her Mine', then prepare to shimmy and sway like a possessed being, as this oozes sexuality in droves amid that funky riff that all DNR fans will recognise immediately, and I can only imagine what it must've been like for those in attendance in NY.  'Shameless' is a sure fire single if any, it's power-pop vibe ... shameless for a better word (and no pun intended!), definitely aimed at the radio stations to pick up on, very synthy and riffy without being too heavy, though maybes a shorter version for airplay needed, yet again, who remembers 'Bo Rhap' in 1975!!

'Let It Go' down tempo's the moment with the laid back vibe it brings along, (as it did on 'The Heat' album), though the dusting down it has here gives it a more Summery feel to it, less tense than the original, (and I do not mean the Disney one!!), then we're back to that superb funk / rock element that DNR are so admired for with 'One Last Time', it's pulsating drumming and keys joined at the hips nearly as this skips along with a chanted chorus once more, then along comes the closing track, and THE ONE that put this band in the global spotlight (and quite rightly so!!), 'Rainbow Child', this time sounding 'live' on first hearing, the ''choir" joining in on the chorus and outro giving that effect and really ... what else could you want to end an album of half 'covers' than this beauty that was written in a car park in California when The Grateful Dead were in town!  Still sounds good even with the slight changes taking place within the song, so enjoy it as nothing could really spoil it, unless some prawn decides to 'Rap it up' somewhere along the line!!

Yeah, DNR have come good on 'Origins', though personally, I hope their next new album is exactly what it says on the tin, 'NEW', as in all the songs this time!

 

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Fade To Light
2.  Ritual
3.  Right In Front Of Me
4.  Forgot To Make Her Mine
5.  Shameless
6.  Let It Go
7.  One Last Time
8.  Rainbow Child  

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