Soundtrack 2011 / Angel Air 2016
The ’70s heroes come back to life, still full of passion – and succumbing to the rhythm.
If their American namesakes’ return to the fray caused quite a stir, the British veterans’ resurrection was little short of sensation. The band fizzled out in 1978 to get back and release an album in the ’90s, yet the last we heard of Dicken, their leader, was when the singing guitarist fashioned a collection of his work and seemed to have drawn the line for good. But there it is, a new record that’s as good as old.
The comparison is made easy by a fresh – yet still with harmonica of another Mr. BIG player, Ed Carter – cut of the group’s only hit, 1977’s “Romeo,” the path to which starts here with a lushly orchestrated ballad “Come And Dance” which turns regrets of the past into triumph. There’s a lot of emotional moments on this record where anthems like “Why Wait For Love” marry desperation to hope but, while the nostalgic sway of the title track could rock Roy Orbison’s hardest fans, a piano-propelled “Die In Love” possesses an infectious disco groove, where mirror ball is punched with sharp riffs, and “God Save Me From The Blues” spreads its finger-popping déjà vu boogie and wah-wah’s all around.
The ’70s may ooze out of many a pore, yet when tunes are as arresting as “Baby Come Around” or as life-affirming as the sunny “Sandy” with its almost baroque backdrop, the drift is timeless. So Dicken may cast another dreamlike glance over his shoulder on the exquisitely textured bonus “Close My Eyes” and sail away on acoustic lull: the streets he still walks on are full of sweet light rather than bitter tears.