Review: Dan Reed Network ­- 'Fight Another Day'

Grown men openly wept tears of joy when it was announced that Dan Reed Network would be following up last years Winter tour with a brand new studio album, 25 years after abruptly calling it quits after releasing their most successful album in the UK (1991’s ‘The Heat’). The crossover vibes of melodic rock with funk and soul have returned to encourage some seriously shit dad dancing. Those of us who strutted our stuff on any given night down the local rock club in 1987 to ‘Ritual’ or ‘Slam’ in 1989, or ‘Baby Now I’ in 1991, will be stocking up on the ibuprofen and Deep Heat in anticipation of some weary joints. Dance like no­-one is watching ?… no chance of that. Dan Reed Network are back with ‘Fight Another Day’, released through Frontiers Music, the home of all things melodic rock and AOR. The funk is back, the melodies are back, and most importantly, the hooks are back. Unashamedly upbeat, but with an undercurrent of foreboden on some tracks, ‘Fight Another Day’ is the sound of a band re­invigorated, going out there with nothing to prove. ‘Divided’ opens the album up with an intro that echoes Sambora’s talkbox parts on ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’. An uplifting track, with anthemic qualities that will sound punchy as hell in a live setting. The bass work of Melvin Brannon II is pushed to the front early on during ‘The Brave’, and helps give the track an infectious groove. New keyboard player Rob Daiker keeps it simple, and this allows Reed to lay down some impressive laid back vocals. Close your eyes, and it’s 1989 all over again, and we’re all a few pounds lighter with less grey hair. As a political activist, humanitarian, and animal rights advocate, Reed is a songwriter with great depth and passion, so most of his songs will feature messages, some subliminal, some not. ’Infected’ doesn’t hide its intent, opening up with the lines: “This whole world’s infected, too far gone” It then changes tack as it reaches the chorus and offers some hope: “I’ll always be on your side, even if everything comes crashing down in one big lie” The first big floorfilling moment comes with ‘Give It Love’, a banger that builds on a pulsating beat with a seriously catchy chorus and some sweet riffs from Brion James. This gives way to one of the softer moments on the album. ‘B There With U’ feels like classic ‘Purple Rain’ era Prince, and given the fact that it was recorded before his sad death, it stands as a great tribute, intended or not. ‘Eye of The Storm’ is another old school laid back Dan Reed Network moment, whereas ‘Reunite’ is a modern day tale of people reconnecting, told over a keyboard sound that should have the front rows bouncing.
‘Stand Tall’ rounds the album off with a polished commercial sound. A simple drum beat from Dan Pred keeps the troops in step as Brion James totally nails his solo. As the song fades out, Reed sings “We are all the same…”, his message to a world light years away from the one he encountered back in the day. Funk rock might have run its course, but with ‘Fight Another Day’ Dan Reed Network prove that sometimes it’s good to go back. The album is released June 3rd through Frontiers Music . Review: ­ Dave Stott
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