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Dan Reed Network: Dan Reed Network (remaster)

Discovering the release of a much sought after remastered version of a classic, under appreciated album is always a moment to treasure, so why can’t I help feeling ever so slightly short changed by the reappearance of Dan Reed Network’s self titled debut offering? Well, the lack of difference in the upgraded sound - which was tinkered with by Miles Showell at Abbey Road, no less - from the original version is somewhat of a disappointment, even if it always did and still does sound pretty sparkling. While the dearth of bonus tracks, when numerous b-sides are ripe for the picking, feels like a rather massive oversight.

However, you’d guess that none of this is DRN’s fault as they prepare for a tour celebrating 30 years of the follow up to this release, Slam, which has also received the same ‘sonic’ re-treatment and coinciding re-release date, so let’s focus on the music. Formed in 1984 round singer, guitarist and songwriter Dan Reed and drummer Dan Pred, the pair recruited Brion James (guitar), Melvin Brannon II (bass) and Jeff Siri (keyboards) on their way to picking up a strong live reputation. An EP titled Breathless emerged in 1986, by which time Rick DiGiarllonado had taken on keyboard duties as the band became synonymous with a hybrid rock sound that incorporated funk, soul, R&B and a big, massive wallop of pop. That mix was put down to the diverse cultural background of the five members that made up the Dan Reed Network; something which only widened further when Blake Sakamoto became the band’s third incumbent at the keyboard.

This self titled debut would arrive in 1988 and with Bruce Fairbairn bringing his trademark production commercialism to the party, it would also be a slicker, smoother affair than many had expected. However, with throbbing, deep bass lines and popping drums, the funk elements were still in place, even if they were and still are bubbling away under a thick layer of (by modern standards) dated keyboard sounds and admittedly, some of the catchiest choruses you could wish for. Reed himself - seen as something of a heartthrob - was more interested in providing some stunning vocals and rich grooves all framed round hooks that seldom, if ever, failed to sink deep into their intended targets. From the pounding “Get To You”, through the stick in the mind “Forgot To Make Her Mine” and from the funk-tabular “Rock You All Night Long” to the thoroughly irresistible “Ritual” the songs were most definitely there. And, as is so often said, it really is difficult to fathom exactly why this album didn’t gain more traction than it did, stalling at number 95 in the US album charts and failing to make even the merest dent in the UK - even with support slots with the likes of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, as well as strong coverage in the pages of magazines such as Kerrang!

The Dan Reed Network album is far from perfect, hindsight finding it difficult to disagree that the production isn’t just a touch too polished for its own good but with real pop-rock crossover potential, it really is a mystery why Dan and his chums remain something of an unknown quantity outside of melodic rock circles. Something that’s even more difficult to reckon when their follow up album Slam improved on what was an already enticing formula.


Track Listing
1. World Has A Heart Too
2. Get To You
3. Ritual
4. Forgot To Make Her Mine
5. Tamin’ The Wild Nights
6. I’m So Sorry
7. Resurrect
8. Baby Don’t Fade
9. Human
10. Halway Around The World
11. Rock You All Night Long
12. Tatiana

Added: November 23rd 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Dan Reed Network online
Hits: 193
Language: english

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