‘One Day I’m Gonna Soar’ (BMG Music)
Available 4th June 2012
When the Dexys released Geno all those years ago it seemed like music was going to be an endless run of genius. Coming out of the back of punk there was this non stop flow of great pop with a myriad of styles and the Dexys were the latest twist.
It’s hard to imagine now a band like this getting to number one, with their tough pinched faces, their Mean Streets, gone soul boy, band as a gang look and their tough, soul, all nighter, punk fused, soul power.
Geno remains one of the great pop records and launched a superbly emotional roller coaster ride for frontman Kevin Rowland, whose impassioned belief and brilliant idea of imagery and style has been like no other. The band’s debut album was part of the soundtrack of the times- oozing passion and horns into a perfect whole. Their follow up, the raggle taggle gypsy folk follow up was seriously underrated and their third, a stripped down introspective work of genius.
With genius comes madness and there was some suicidal career moves but Kevin’s solo set, the controversial My Beauty saw a critical meltdown which reacted to his clobber at the time more than the music. Maybe he was unconventional at this point in his career but as Alan MacGee his label boss and your author agreed when talking about it, that was the whole fucking point of punk rock and the accompanying album was a brilliant shakedown of some of his favourite songs from his youth and sadly overlooked.
There were intermittent Dexys reformations,a great gig in Manchester a few years ago and then the rumour of this, the forth album, which restates his remarkable soul bearing creativity with a series of confessional songs of the like that no-one dares to sing these days.
The stripped down music and the brisk live sound perfectly compliment the vocals which have got even better with age. Kevin Rowland lays everything naked- his emotions, his feelings, his inadequacies in a way that few would dare and it makes for intriguing listening but also packs a real power that is so rare in the terror of modern music.
This is a music that should searches the decades, from music hall to soul, from folk to even the intensity of punk rock, from the slings of Roxy Music to the confessional of the great honest musics. It doesn’t seek to be modern but sounds timeless and packs a stark, darkness but also a rare beauty and is defined by that marvellous vocal that switches from confessional to humour with a poetry of its own.
There are songs of love and fury from the insightful spoken dialogue with Madeleine Hyland to the soul power sex of She Got A Wiggle or the emotional monologue of It’s OK John Joe- every vocal is well thought out perfection, the lyrics are clear and the point is made.
He may have dropped the Midnight Runners from the band name to distance himself from the old stuff but all that was great about any of the older line ups is only amplified here and is vibrant living proof of some sort of humanity left in the machine and also completely destroys the dumb myth that older people can’t make great music or that talent in pop is about the flicker of youth.
Dexys are the perfect example of learning from life, letting the years add to your muse and at 58 Kevin Rowland comes out of the other side, from the drugs and depression and the madness to make one of the year’s great albums and to prove that music can still have a beating heart.
A genius work.