Dan Reed Network – “Origins” (AOR Heaven)
Battle Helm Rating
Following their hugely successful 2016 comeback album “Fight Another Day” and recent UK tour, Dan Reed Network loose no momentum in returning with their brand new album “Origins”. I should say that ‘new’ isn’t strictly speaking true, as while the first 4 songs on this release are just that, the latter 4 songs are actually re-recordings of old classics. That said, the one thing they all have in common is that they were all recorded live in the studio to an audience spread from Blueprint Studio’s in Manchester, The Power Station in NYC, Nia Studios in Portland Oregon and finally Studio 4 in Stockholm. As well as witnessing a classic Dan Reed Network being re-imagined right before their eyes, the exclusive recording sessions allowed supporters of the band to intimately witness the whole process of recording a brand new song from scratch with the band individually tracking drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals before inviting the audience to participate and provide backing vocals for each song! Opening with ‘Fade To Light’, penned in Honduras by guitarist Brion James and finalised by Dan Reed in Prague, it’s pretty clear that DRN haven’t lost their touch through this moving number that hits so hard right from the off with its gentle harmonies and heart stirring melodies that resonate so deeply in one’s soul. With plenty of subtle hooks adding an uplifting rhythmic vibe, I cannot understate the feelgood factor from this song, it’s just so beautiful. Bringing in the epic power of the synths on ‘Shameless’ to match the deep power of love driving the song, the tender but incredibly touching chorus is no less strong in the deep contemplation about the weight of such relationships, and ultimately the bond that keeps people together forever, come what may. Propelled by the talented musicianship, along with the fantastic sound, the addictive material not only has a live touch – but is alive – making this one helluva album! Getting more upbeat, not to mention funky with plenty of bass slapping along with tribal rhythms is the re-recording of ‘Ritual’, but still keeping that synth sound straight out of the late 80s (when this song originally made its debut) making the chorus (and tribal chant sung by the audience) nothing short of that. An excellent blast to the past but not forgetting the overriding aspect of this winning concept taking DRN once again into the stratosphere!