Deacon Blue – City of Love (Album Review)

deacon blue slide - Deacon Blue - City of Love (Album Review)

Deacon Blue – City of Love (Album Review)

deacon blue 1 - Deacon Blue - City of Love (Album Review)One of the gems of the Sophistipop realms, Deacon Blue is best loved for its ’80s single “Real Gone Kid.” Released in 1988, it is a song which will surely launch many New Wave aficionados to nostalgic tears of delight… or sadness, depending on one’s memories associated with the song’s words or melodies. In any case, there is more to Deacon Blue than that lone track, especially in its members’ native hometown, where many of their songs have been regular chart toppers – such as “When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring),” “Fergus Sings the Blues,” “Cover from the Sky,” “Your Town,” “Every Time You Sleep” “Bethlehem Begins,” and “This Is a Love Song.”

Looking back further, Deacon Blue was formed in 1985, in Glasgow, Scotland, releasing its debut album, Raintown, two years after. However, what put the band on not only the map of Scottish Pop music but also the overseas at large was the followup, 1989’s When the World Knows Your Name, which contained the aforementioned “Real Gone Kid” – Deacon Blue’s most well-known song.

Currently consisting of founders Ricky Ross (vocals, piano), James Prime (keyboards), Lorraine McKintosh (vocals, percussion), and Dougie Vipond (drums, percussion) with Gregor Philp (guitar) and Lewis Gordon (bass), Deacon Blue has an eight-album discography, which includes 1993’s Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, 1999’s Walking Back Home, 2014’s A New Home, and 2016’s Believers. Now the Scottish veterans are slated to release their ninth offering, titled City of Love.

Due out on March 6th, 2020, via earMusic Records, City of Love is composed of 11 tracks whose lyrical theme is “the prevalence of hope even in the corners of a little town where no light falls.” It opens with the melodramatic piano hush of the title-track, which then bursts into a sunlight of upbeat mood and heartrending string orchestration. This is then followed by the initially slightly slower, piano-led “Hit Me where It Hurts.” The ensuing “Weight of the World” is another future Sophistipop classic in the making–delicate with its guitar plucks and Neo-Acoustic sensibilities behind verses that include “Sometimes I want to go gliding / High enough not to care about sliding down.”

Deacon Blue continues City of Love’s acoustic predisposition with “Take Me,” then picks up pace again with “In Our Room,” which will fit well onto a playlist that includes Fra Lippo Lippi’s “Stitches and Burn,” Johnny Hates Jazz’s “Me and My Foolish Heart,” PM’s “Piece of Paradise,” Danny Wilson’s “Mary’s Prayer,” and Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary.” The reinvigorated band then swiftly reverts to something slow and melodic with “Intervals.”

Something desert-dry, bluesy, and Gospel-glazed then plays next in the form of “Keeping My Faith Alive,” radiating faint glows of U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” A sure future favorite, “A Walk in the Woods” is another album highlight, enough to guide the listener calmly back to Deacon Blue’s classic balladry.

The trademark piano takes center-stage again with “Come On In,” in which the vocal interplay of the couple Ross and McIntosh soars serenely atop the summery, subtle instrumentation in the countryside. The following “Wonderful” is then a further trek to the sonic prairies of early-’70s Folk Pop.

Finally, Ross, Prime, McIntosh, Vipond, Philp, and Gordon wrap up City of Love with the scenic, picturesque, and filmic “On Love” – a perfect storytelling closer for an album that describes the hidden beauty of a city steeped with love, hope, and dreams.

Deacon Blue may have started small thirty-five years ago in a little town in Scotland, but it eventually captured the hearts and ears of countless sophisticated music lovers all over the world with their blue-bright songs of love and hope. In the last seven years since its resurgence, Deacon Blue’s prolificacy and newfound energy have inevitably emanated through its new songs. The forthcoming City of Love is just another testament of that. The rainy days in small towns are long over. Greet the world at large with the sunny, shimmering songs of City of Love which exude new rays of hope. Cryptic Rock gives Deacon Blue’s latest record 4 out of 5 stars.

deacon blue - Deacon Blue - City of Love (Album Review)

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature.In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music.As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics.aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015.In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology.In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it.aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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