Dan Reed Network – Fight Another Day (Frontiers)

Genre: Rock/Funk

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and after 25 years it’s fair to say there was a lot of love for a brand new Dan Reed Network record.

Not since 1991’s Top 15 UK album The Heat has the man behind the band felt the desire to release original material under the legendary Network name. But a series of triumphant live shows – rolling back the funk rock years – finally persuaded Reed to write the next chapter in a compelling story.

Sadly Fight Another Day fails to rediscover the spark that made The Heat and Slam such special records. The relaxed grooves and funky rhythms at the heart of those spectacular releases are often missing in a muddy mix that makes the Dan Reed Network sound bang average – the very antithesis of the groundbreaking creative fusion that caught the attention of the Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi back in the day.

Perhaps Reed was right, after all, in resisting the urge to revisit his Network’s brief but brilliant stay at funk rock’s top table. Opener Divided raised fans’ hopes when rolled out live earlier this year but the lame studio version is inexplicably bland. B There With U and Heaven seek to emulate classics Lover and Rainbow Child but neither can hold a torch to those wistful classics.

They say the originals are the best. Fight Another Day supports that old adage and suggests Reed knew better than most when the time was right for the Network to call it a day.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Fight Against The Odds