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So it turns out that Homer Simpson was right when he predicted in a classic episode of that great show "you haven't heard the last of Dexys Midnight Runners". True its taken some 27 years for the band to return with this album and much water has passed under the bridge with the controversy of Kevin Rowland's solo output, a short reunion tour in 2003 and a growing feeling that this new record which Rowland kind of promised in 2005 would never materialize. But here it is and it's wonderful. Let us pause at this point for a small detour since some critics are stating its Dexys best record ever. This is questionable since "Don't stand me down" remains one of the most precious bits of vinyl in many a discerning record collection and while "One day I'm going to soar" is a splendid record it contains nothing in its grooves like the incredible majesty of "This is what she's like". Nevertheless after this hiatus all sensible predictors could not have anticipated an album quite so rounded, thoughtful, cathartic and packed with great songs. The 58 year old Kevin Rowland remains one of the most potent and original forces in British music and while that voice might not be quite as soaring as it once was it has grown with stature and learned maturity into a truly brilliant instrument.

All shades of the human experience are to be found in the grooves of this record not least ageing, love, dejection and rejuvenation. On the lead single "She got a wiggle" we see a silly title hide one of the most gorgeous Al Green inspired songs that Rowland has penned. It's all dark and burning with passionate intensity. On the opener "Now" you have six minutes of brassy power commencing with a slow start and Rowland reflecting on college days until it kicks into a classic Dexys signature song, which harks back to "Soul Rebels". It is obvious from the outset that the band is tighter than an ill fitting pair of jeans and with Rowland's backed by Pete Williams and Big Jim Paterson from the original line-up and the addition of the Style Council's Mick Talbot and the sterling new female vocalist Madeline Hyland its hardly surprising, The second song is "Lost" and its a classic with Rowland singing better than ever and not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve as he regrets how his soul was "lost inside" pointing at the deep pain of his darker years. "One day I'm going to soar" is a very soulful record and the lounge lizard almost jazzy "Me" epitomizes a new level of relaxed depth with a tell tale spoken passage in the middle of a song which demands repeated plays as Rowland confesses that "all these people are depending on me... I don't know who's friend or foe". It is followed by the excellent "You" that rolls along like an old Stones classic and would require your feet nailed to your floorboards to stop them tapping. The big centre point of the album is the seven minute plus "I'm thinking of you" which just about stays on the right side of being repetitive and is lifted by a nice saxophone solo five minutes in. In terms of "I'm always going to love you" it musically starts like an old Philly sound record until Rowland trades sweet nothings with Hyland (it all ends in tears) in a song which has a one take in the studio ambiance. "Free" was performed with gusto on Jools Holland the other week in a great live performance and comes over on record with even more power and punch, but even better is "Incapable of love" where Rowland exchanges verbal punches with Hyland over his lack of commitment to a relationship. Finally "Its Ok John Joe" is pure Rowland with a lonely piano playing over a long spoken introduction where he confesses, "I'm only learning to operate in this this world". It rolls out slowly but surely over its eight minutes and sees Rowland quote Marvin Gaye and indulge in a therapeutic if questioning lament on the pitfalls of lost love.

Its difficult to describe in words the unadulterated joy that this splendid return after such a time brings to this reviewer. Rowland is a performer we should treasure and speak of in hushed tones. He has certainly dropped howlers aplenty and blurred the fine line between genius and fool. That however is the price you pay for a talent that refuses to lie down. Indeed you strain to think of any bands that dare to bare their souls and inject such heart into their music as Dexys. After listening to this scintillating album you can guarantee that for a time everything thing else will sound devoid of passion and guts.
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on 17 June 2012
My second review having heard the album: when I initially read EXPLICIT I'm thinking harm or unpleasantness: there is simply the odd f word or less. So I finally succumbed due to the reviews and bought this album and confirm that it is STUNNING. Rarely have I so enjoyed and continue to enjoy a collection of songs: GENIUS doesn't do it justice. There is the odd expletive but this album is a piece of astonishing theatre. Like Frank Sinatra's WATERTOWN this album lives permanently in the car's CD changer. Both have strong narrative and are pieces that really ought to be listened to in their entirety in sequence - there is nothing that for a second says fast forward or jump to the next track..
I think this Kevin Rowland's best work. Personally I didn't like Don't Stand Me Down although there was the odd gem, but "One day..." is right up there with Too-Rye-Ay and given the strong narrative and either soaring melodies and/or intoxicating Dexy's soul sound rich in strings BETTER. If there were 10 stars they be given
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on 12 June 2012
In my opinion, this is comfortably Dexys' 4th best album. Musically, there is a lot of good stuff here, but lyrically I find it self indulgent and one dimensional.

The series of songs about/with Madeline Hyland are, in parts, cringe inducing. The depiction of a man pushing 60 (however cool his clothes might be), lusting after an attractive 20 something female is a little sad and even a bit creepy to be honest. Where the conversation pieces on 'Don't Stand Me Down' sounded impromptu (even if they weren't), innovative and amusing, here, they just sound cheesy, like a poorly scripted musical production.

On the positive side, even on the aforementioned duets, the musical arrangements are excellent, reprising and broadening Dexys unique take on soul music. Rowland's distinctive singing voice is also as strong as ever, even if his vocal styling is sometimes a bit odd. Many of the tracks, particularly 'Now' 'Me' and 'Free', stand up well on their own when heard in isolation from the self-pity fest of the album as a whole. 'You' is another of the better songs; although anyone who's heard its early 90s incarnation will wonder why the excellent trombone solo is missing when Big Jimmy Paterson features elsewhere on the album.

Unless you're someone like R Kelly, `She Got a Wiggle' is simply a rubbish song title. Why make it even worse with poor grammar?

It's not a bad album, but I'm slightly disappointed that, 25+ years after the monumental masterpiece that is 'Don't Stand Me Down', Kevin Rowland has nothing more to offer us lyrically than some quasi-6th form poetry about his inability to find love and how he's best off being alone. To quote the man himself from one of his lesser know (but far superior) efforts - 'As if we're f****ing interested!'
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on 14 June 2012
In a Nutshell the best way to describe this is dire.
!i'm glad i listened to a mates copy and didn't waste my hard earned cash.
Kevin Rowland has about as much Soul as a Dead Stoat .
Please Vanish for another 27 Years Mr Rowland.
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on 10 June 2012
The critics are falling over themselves to tell you that this is the best album of the year or even, God forbid, 'soul album of the Century.' Trust me, it is neither. I honestly think that the reason they are so keen to lavish praise on this record is they are embarrassed by their writing off, 27 years ago, of 'Don't Stand Me Down' (because they didn't expect, want or understand a record of such individual brilliance.)

That said, it might not be the best record of the year, but this is not a bad album. However, it suffers in two ways that cost it one star each. Firstly, there is a problem that could have been rectified relatively easily: Kevin needed to find himself one good drummer (out of four who play) who could lock in with the ever reliable bassist Pete Williams and make a sound a bit less like a teenager hitting something very, very loudly. Stuart Maconie is spot on when he says the drums are 'too loud and leaden'. They actively spoil a lot of this record for me because where it should float and swing it lumps and thumps. There is some good stuff here and when the band relax and get into a groove, it is great. Me and my one year old daughter have enjoyed some lovely hops around the living room listening to this and I am sure you will too but you will also have to use the skip button on your remote control to get past the tracks that just don't swing.

My main criticism though is that which other reviewers here have noted: it really is time Kevin Rowland stopped banging on endlessly, in a rather sub Sixth Form poetry kind of a way, about his incapacity for love. The critics have said this is 'soul searching' and 'honest'. It isn't. It's boring. It is boring because he is not giving us any new insight, he is not revealing anything about the human condition we don't already know, he is not telling us anything that he hasn't actually been telling us for 32 years. It's not poetry, Kev, it really isn't.

So. Some of this is great. Some of the grooves are unstoppable. Some of the melodies are lovely. Some of the playing is pithy and vibrant (except for the drumming). It's got attitude and it needed to exist, which is important. I am glad it exists for all sorts of personal reasons, but if Kevin and the crew are going to do another one any time soon I really hope Mr Rowland can fall in love and stay in love so he can start singing about something else and along the way find himself a drummer who doesn't have to hit the skins so blinking hard.

UPDATE: 18th June

I've been listening to this album non-stop for a couple of days and the truth is I am too hard on it above. I have pushed this up to four stars and recommend it as a purchase. The drums are still too loud and the lyrics do grate a bit at times, but the fact is that a lot of this is magnificent. 'Now', 'Lost' 'Free' and 'Incapable of Love' are all wonderful and when this gets under your skin you just can't stop it.
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VINE VOICEon 8 July 2012
I loved 'searching for the young soul rebels' and had been led to believe that this long awaited album was a return to form. Sadly not. In fact,it is simply quite dire! Sub 80's white soul which in truth makes Mick Hucknall sound like Marvin Gaye by comparison. Lazy, re-hashed muzak that Alan Partridge might play on Digital Radio Norfolk. Self indulgent and unimaginative.Filed under 'BIN' !
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on 11 June 2012
Let me start this review by pinning my colours to the mast - I have always prided myself on discovering Dexys just before they hit the big time and have followed the course of their career (and that of Kevin Rowland) with interest. I hated Dexys becoming successful and other people claiming their love for them (well you do these things when you're young and immature) but the music was paasionate and beautiful (I'd exclude "Come on Eileen" for this - it just screamed sellout to me and I still can't stand the "Seaside Special" reaction of clapping hands and stomping feet when it comes on). Each album was a progression from the last and challenged you culminating in "Don't Stand Me Down" - long considered to be Dexys finest work to date.

Kevin never took prisioners - he liked to tell it as he saw it in those days. His grandiose opinion of his work and slating of journalists ultimately cost him dear. "Don't Stand Me Down" was like nothing else around at the time. The clothes Kevin chose for Dexys to wear at the time made an easy target for ridicule. The press saw an opportunity to bring Kevin down a peg or two and massacred the album. This vitriol and initial poor sales (followed by similar reaction to his first solo work) saw Kevin lose his swagger and descent into a drug-fuelled abyss.

"My Beauty" Kevins second solo work of cover versions (and with Kevin donning a dress on the cover) was greeted with derision. I suggest it requires further listening. It is the sound of someone still battling with mental illness and just about winning. When I listen to it I can see Kevin rocking back and fore in rehab singing what he thinks are the words the "The Greatest Love of All" (and getting them wrong). I know the power of "You'll Never Walk Alone" in depression having used it myself for many years before Kevin covered it on "My Beauty". The cross-dressing to me is Kevin saying to the press "You tried to destroy me but I'm still here, perhaps a bit barking still, but still alive and fighting".

So 27 years on from "Don't Stand Me Down" how do we find Kevin Rowland and Dexys? Well "One Day I'm Going To Soar" suggests they all are in fine fettle.

The album is very confessional in nature with the first 3 tracks ("Now", "Lost", "Me") having Kevin admitting "I've been crazy" and "I was lost" and that "I tried to hide it from the world and my family" but with the suggestion that this is very much in the past. "She's Got a Wiggle" sees Kevin leave behind the introspection in favour of extolling the virtues of a desirable woman and the intensity of feelings carries through "You" to a point in "I'm Thinking Of You" where his feelings seem to grow in intensity to such an extent you fear he'll suffer some kind of premature ejaculation. Madeline Hyland joins Kevin for "I'm Always Going To Love You" which weaves it's way through a relationship from first expressions of love (or more likely lust) and the cynicism of Hyland to his feelings to the realisation it's not what Kevin wants after all. Perhaps he is "Incapable of Love". These two songs run the whole gamut of emotions with both songs ending in expressions of real anger from Hyland (the shows had her prostrate and sobbing at the end of "I'm Thinking of You" and sensibly they changed to running of the songs so that the two songs didn't follow each other making "Incapable of Love" akin to a post break-up meeting that ends in a fight). "Nowhere is Home" seems as if it's wandered in from another album as it's all about heritage and belonging (it probably would have sat more comfortably on "Don't Stand Me Down"). "Free" sees Kevin relationship-free again (and bragging about it). "It's Okay John-Joe" the final track strikes me as a conversation at the bed of a critically ill person. Or at a graveside. Or with your pet in the evenings. It's an opportunity to pour out your feelings to someone (or something) that won't proffer advice in return - again confessional in nature. The original version of this (called "It's Okay Johanna") and indeed in the live show ended with a "...but we don't want to leave you like that..." comment and the band strikes up again. An upbeat end to what despite the subject matter of many of the songs is an upbeat album.

I'd recommend to anyone thinking a taking a punt on this album to do so - but as I said at the start I am a fan so I would say that. The album is full of beautifully written songs played by an accomplished band of musicians. There is occasional bad language but this is in the context of the songs, not purely to offend. Album of the year? Certainly it is unlike any other album that will be released this year and should be commended for that and if someone releases a better album than this then I certainly would love to hear that (because this will take some beating). Will we wait another 27 years for the next Dexys album? I think not. This album is lovingly crafted and the joy of recording these songs with old friends shines through. With Kevin such a perfectionist I'm not expecting another album next year but he's produced an album that screams "I'M BACK" at you...and he'll follow this up....soon...ish...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 June 2012
The new 2012 album from Dexy's really is a remarkable achievement. Next to nothing from Kevin Rowland for nigh on 27 years (OK, Young Man was great) and then this - it (nearly) makes me take him seriously when he says the reason for the hiatus was that he 'wasn't ready'. I only hope that this state of unreadiness does not persist for the next 27 years (otherwise he will be 85 when the follow-up is released!). Indeed, Dexy's achievement should not be underestimated - OK, so Rowland was undoubtedly one of the most inspired songwriters of the 1980s (and, I would suggest, of his generation), but to return with such a great record after such an extended period is (as far as I can recall) unprecedented.

OK, so I do have one or two minor gripes with the record. Whilst the songwriting is pretty much up there with anything being released currently, for me, One Day I'm Going To Soar does not (quite) reach the heights of the debut masterpiece Searching For The Young Soul Rebels (quite frankly it would have to go some for this - as SFTYSR features in my top 10 albums ever) or that of This Is What She's Like from the Don't Bring Me Down album. Indeed, stylistically, the Dexy's sound has moved on quite dramatically from the earlier albums. Whilst there are some hints of the trademark full-on brass backing, the sound on ODIGTS is generally sparser - and this leads me onto my other minor gripe (noted in another review), that of the drum mix, which for me is at times too up-front (and heavy). Such drawbacks, however, are minor and do not detract from a magnificent record - indeed, I would normally not put pen to paper for a review until at least three months or so after a new release, but my 10 or so listens to the album in the two weeks that I've had it are enough to convince me that this is a 5 star album.

The album gets off to a great start with Now, a song which begins with Mick Talbot's deceptively low-key lullaby piano, accompanied by Rowland's similarly-styled dulcet tones, before the band launch into the song proper with a rallying cry of 'Attack! Attack! I said attack! Attack!'. Thereafter, instrumentally, Now features the guitar of Neil Hubbard, and some great brass backing by jazz-player Quentin Collins on trumpet and Mark Brown on sax. The song Now sits alongside three other up-tempo songs on the album - all of them outstanding. These include I'm Always Going To Love You and Incapable Of Love which form something of a pair (and are together in this order on the album) of songs, coming across (sound-wise) as something from a 70s Philly soundtrack or even a stage musical (such as Grease!). Both songs also feature Rowland duetting with Madeleine Hyland, whose vocal shortcomings are lost in what is a bravura turn of impassioned pleading ('It's all or nothing') with her true love Kevin. The marvellous Free completes this quartet, both stylistically and lyrically, as Rowland celebrates his maverick personality and the freedom it brings him ('Why would I want to buy a book when I could just join the library?').

Of the slower songs, each of Me, You and She Got A Wiggle are great exponents, with the latter song featuring a melody to die for (as well as outstanding string backing arrangements) and all three featuring outstanding vocal performances from the great man (and from Suzie Furlonger on Wiggle), as well as some beautiful ivory tinkling from Talbot. Nowhere Is Home (which was co-written by Sex Pistol Glen Matlock) is a beautifully paced song in which Rowland once again is (defiantly) searching for his own true (national) identity, if such a thing exists. For me, however, the album's standout song is the three minute gem that is Lost. From the first time I heard the song on Jools Holland, I recognised it instantly as one of Rowland's true classics (alongside the likes of This Is What She's Like, There There My Dear, Let's Make This Precious, I'm Just Looking, etc). From the initial Bacharach-esque la-la-la-ing, the song is by turns a celebration of everything Rowland was initially seeking ('music, girls and clothes') and a devastating lament to the search for his inner soul - simply breathtaking. Finally, a brief word on my (current) least favourite songs, I'm Thinking Of You and It's OK John Joe - both have their moments of course with some beautiful melodies, but both outstay their welcome. Really, Kevin, you should have put Lost as the album's closing track (well, that's my opinion anyway!).

As I listen to the album now, it just keeps getting better and better. An essential album from one of the most original and inspired songwriters of his generation.
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on 7 June 2012
I remember walking across the concourse at Victoria station one morning in 1985. I seem to remember it was warm and sunny and I had just purchased a cassette copy of 'Don't Stand Me Down'. I was 15. It had been out a week or two and I hadn't even realised, much as I adored both its predecessors. I put the cassette in my walkman and, erm, walked and listened. I'd never known a feeling quite like it. For all the music I loved, for the absolutely obsessive number of times I had listened to SFTYSR and Too Rye Ay, nothing prepared me for an album quite like this. On the face of it, it sounded so straight, so traditional and yet it was like nothing else. That was 27 years ago and I'm very happy to say that, whilst no album since has affected me so strongly, 'One Day I'm Going To Soar' brings all those memories and reactions swimming back into view. It's not the same as DSMD and only time will tell how it ranks against it for enduring quality, but it is absolutely exhilerating and captivating. I'm not sure it's fair to ask more than that of anything.

it's certainly my album of the year so far. In fact, probably my favourite new listen since 2006. Just for the sake of balance, I'll dare to say that I would have liked the drums a little quieter on a few of the tracks - they can intrude a bit - and equally some of the other instruments sound like they could be a little more forthright in the mix as the impact of some guitar licks and horn stabs sounds slightly hamstrung by the volume knob. Also, I think a couple of tracks could have been a key or three higher as that voice always gets me most when it starts to reach up, even if it can't go as high as it used to.

All that said, these are small niggles. As well as being packed with splendid songs (I'm Always Going To Love You, Nowhere Is Home and She Got A Wiggle particularly standing out at for me the moment, but the overall quality across the album is so high it's hard to choose really), it is thankfully the most natural sounding of any album I've heard for some time. Not a hint of the heavy handed use of compression so common these days, the album is allowed for the most part to breathe as if played live in front of you. One Day I'm Going To Soar can sit comfortably beside the other 3 Dexys albums on my 'Favourite Records' shelf. Not many things are worth waiting 27 years for, but this actually was.
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on 12 July 2012
Its been a strange 30+ years with Dexys for me. They were almost my first gig back in 1981 at the tender age of 13 but I bottled it. Geno is easily my favourite No 1 of all time. There There My Dear possibly my favourite song to dance to, and yet back in the day I never bought an album of their's, God knows why not. I have them now but have never poured over them with the relish I would have got in my youth. And so along come this after 27 years, and boy is it worth it. First play, interesting second and third plays, you realise how much you remember the songs from the first play, whereas I have albums I claim to rate that after 10+ listens you still think "I've never heard this before", not surprising, just unremarkable.

After about 10 plays this is up there with the very best and can only improve its standing after seeing them Live in September (even though they wont do Geno or TTMD).

As for the drumming, dont be so harsh. What you are hearing is the sound of a drummer, (I am one, so I feel slightly justified in saying this). The recording of this album sounds so naked its almost as if there's no production at all. This is what bands sound like in the flesh, nearly all albums these days are compressed to hell. There's very little quiet allowed on the product. Play this one in the car however and you miss half of it, the quiet is quiet, the loud is loud, the drums are ... well drums. So its not bad drumming, its just real drumming.

For now though, the best record ever made!

...Did I really say that?
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