Heard of the 30 year overnight sensation that is Dan Reed Network? I wasn’t born when DRN first hit the music scene in the late 80’s, but I grew up listening to their music thanks to my parents, Since they reformed 5 years ago I’ve become an even bigger fan and the band are now perhaps more popular than they were the first time around. Origins is the second album to be released since the band’s comeback in 2013. In truth it is more of an EP, featuring 4 new tracks that sit alongside re-recordings of some of the band’s best loved songs, and it works so well.
Watch the video for Fade To Light
The record gets off to a great start with first single, Fade To Light, a song based around the concept that not only can things in life get worse and go badly, but they can also get better! A brilliant message encapsulated inside a wonderfully melodic chorus, with a dark and mysterious feel – very clever indeed.
Next up is my favourite, Right In Front Me. It begins with a dreamy, hypnotising guitar riff courtesy of the golden fingers of Brion James and builds into a catchy uplifting track on the poppier side. It’s a song about appreciating everything that we have right in front of us, and I love it.
Here’s the video for One Last Time
Shameless and One Last Time make up the rest of the new material. The former opens with an angsty, Muse style riff before blossoming into a gloriously uplifting chorus. One Last Time features trademark DRN vocals over a groovy riff, before it opens out into a real earworm of a song. If Take That recorded this, it would be a worldwide number one! Superb. Origins also features re-recorded versions of the funktastic Ritual and Forgot to Make Her Mine from the 1988 debut, along with the beautiful Let it Go and the classic Rainbow Child. Now you have to ask, with the phenomenal Nile Rodgers producing the likes of Rainbow Child the first time around, how could the guys improve on it? Well, I’m pleased to report that the new versions ooze class, feel contemporary, and the dreamy melodies shine right through.
I chatted with Dan earlier this year
Across the record there is also that oh so distinctive voice. In an age where it’s difficult to stand out, the wonderful warm texture and tone of Dan Reed’s voice is unmistakeable. You can hear and feel the joy he has for the music, delivering the lyrics in a way that means you instantly recognise him. One Last Time in particular has that trademark, close harmony lead vocal line. It is just a delight to listen to.
The bass and drums of Melvin Brannon II and Dan Pred are stellar as always, along with loud, proud keyboards from the excellent Rob Daiker. Daiker also produced the record with Reed, and its sharp, punchy sound really helps to enhance the songs.
Many bands tell you that they love their fans, but DRN’s followers really are at the heart of everything that they do. The band invited a number of their fans into the studio whilst they recorded Origins, with some even singing parts that are on the final release. A classy gesture of appreciation to the people that support them, and a smart way of building their fan base.
Have I got any gripes? Yes, it’s too short! At 38 minutes it left me wanting more new material, but I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next release. Origins is, in many ways, back to the future for Dan Reed Network. And it’s looking bright. Excellent.
Origins is released on Nov 23, and can be pre-ordered at https://danreednetwork.tmstor.es/