Whilst listening to this in the car, I came up with the thought that listening to this album was like spending a day hill walking with a best mate who had been overseas for a while. The hill walking bit, I guess, is all to do with the images the underlying Celtic theme conjures up. The central idea in the thought was that whilst out walking you fell back into easy conversation with your mate as you reminisced about days gone by. His stories of live, love and loss were told with such passion that you felt as if you had been there even for the events that happened when he was overseas.
I have been a big fan of Dare and whilst I enjoyed their last couple of albums, I, like many others, felt they were a little too mature i.e. polite and pedestrian. I have to admit that after listening to this album and writing this review, I went back and listened to a couple of songs from those albums and wondered why I had issues and wasn’t content to sit back and enjoy without nit-picking.
Whatever fears I had about this album disappeared quickly as even on the first listen I got caught up in it and was singing along by the second chorus of “I’ll Hear You Pray’. Darren’s voice is as rich as ever and Vinny Burns does a good job in the guitar department. All the songs are pretty damned good, making selecting highlights pointless. ‘Home’ sets the scene and “I’ll Hear You Pray’ really grabs your attention before the feel good ‘Strength’ has you hooked. ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ is an effective ballad. Around the mid-point ‘Days Of Summer’ is a very catchy number. Bon Jovi or Dark Horse could have some fun churning out ‘On My Own’. The Celtic flavour gets turned up a notch on ‘Until’ and closer ‘Along The Heather’. When Darren sings ‘those were the best days of our lives’ on ‘All Our Brass Was Gold’ it signals that the last few longs are all taking a nostalgic view of days gone by. On ‘You Carried Me’ we are treated to a tale where ‘we have climbed every mountain and crossed every sea’ and on ‘Like The First Time’ there is a ‘distant train where she longs to go’. The aforementioned ‘Along The Heather’ closes the album.
Dare are back on top form with a spring to their step. A cause for celebration!