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Rating: RRR
Label: Frontiers 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

I've been looking forward to this for a long time. Massive fan of Dan Reed Network and their first couple of albums with killer beat and groove. The FUNK, the wicked guitar work by Brion James, the tribal drumming, the bass right up in your face. Bloody 'ell. The song "Ritual" always send a shiver to the spine and it's THE perfect party starter. Not to mention that Max Martin borrowed and stole every thing he could get his naughty little hands on to launch his songwriting career. He simply turned the likes of "I'm So Sorry" to Pop stuff and "Hit Me Baby One More Time". And yes, he started out playing in a funk hard rock band in Sweden in the late 80's.

First of all. Slightly disappointed at first spin and let me tell you why. Not enough of funk and definitely not enough of hard rock and guitars to be classic Dan Reed Network. Brion James playing in the background of the production and several tracks are rather Pop/Rock than funk/hardrock. Do not expect this to explode like popcorn in the micro, it's overall sophisticated Pop/Funk with the occasional loud guitar. I really don't see the point in releasing this as Network? It's their first album in 25 years and people sort of expect the traditional beat and sound? I mean. C'mon... that's the whole point in doing the comeback tour and album?? Yeah? No? Release the six-string beast!!

Secondly. Don't get me wrong. It's still a good borderline great album. Even though the spacey/trip-dance keyboards and several tracks are provided 'ala SEAL and "Crazy" rather than DRN and 'Get To You'. Class. Class. Can I get your attention? The first couple of tracks, "Divided", and its follower, "The Brave", are fun and groovy DRN tracks though. "Infected", the Prince wannabee. "Champion", here's where the SEAL sound kicks in and the likes of "Heaven" and "Sharp Turn", could not be more 'scarface' even if they invited Al Pacino to the studio. It sounds very commercial and deliberately like Top 40 stuff of the popular Seal years. The instrumental track, "Ignition", the only tribal drumming on display.

Final verdict: Good. Solid stuff. It's obvious that some of these tracks are going to work better as well as rock harder when performed live on stage. And they were always the great live act. "Are we born to be divided or born to be one".

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