After reviews of new albums by Paul Buchanan and Ultravox we round up this eighties revival week with a look at the latest incarnation of one of Britain’s most original and eccentric artists: the esteemed Kevin Rowland. Of course Erwin is always a few days ahead of us and his review of One Day I’m Going To Soar is spot on:
Outside of the UK Kevin Rowland is known mainly as the man in dungarees and nothing underneath. With Dexys Midnight Runners he scored a worldwide hit with Come On Eileen and a more modest one with the Van Morrison cover Jackie Wilson Said. Both singles came from the band’s platinum second album Too-Rye-Ay (1982). In England success had started two years earlier, with the band’s critically acclaimed début Searching For The Young Rebels. Ever since Rowland has enjoyed a status as misunderstood genius who, if it wasn’t for his unmarketable flamboyancy (just take one look at the cover of My Beauty) would have been remembered as one of pop history’s greats. My personal opinion about Kevin Rowland is that he’s neither a one-hit-wonder nor a timeless genius.
Rowland’s solo albums were mostly nauseating, but Dexys Midnight Runners’ third album Don’t Stand Me Down (1985) is nothing short of a masterpiece. I’m therefore not surprised the man’s comeback gets a lot of media attention in the UK. In the Netherlands, like everywhere else, Dexys’(the Midnight Runners have been left behind in the eighties) new release has hardly been noticed. It’s a pity, because the fuss made on the other side of the North Sea is mostly justified.
Despite having been left out in name, One Day I’m Going to Soars sees many of the Midnight Runners of the early years make an appearance. Mick Talbot (best known for The Style Council) is one of them. Musically too Dexys return to the original sound. Rowland does, however, not shun from musical references to Dexys Midnight Runners later work and his solo albums. The consequence is that One Day I’m Going To Soar contains a highly enjoyable mix of folk, rhythm & blues, jazz and soul, that is wonderfully laid-back at moment and the next sounds mightily theatrical. The album oozes class and routine, but Kevin Rowland never does anything on autopilot. There’s quite a bit of wtf moments on One Day I’m Going To Soar, making it a lot more exciting than other records with a similar mix of musical styles.
Vocally too is One Day I’m Going To Soar a very interesting album. Kevin Rowland’s voice has always had this pubsinger quality to it, but through the year it has gained more soul and ripeness. Seasoned by his share of personal suffering, he brings his eventful life stories like a true balladeer. With the same ease does he wallow in deep sultry soul music. I think it would be taking things too far too call it the work of a genius? Nevertheless, 27 years after the brilliant Don’t Stand Me Down, Kevin Rowland has proven that he’s still capable of making records that stand out and are too good to ignore. Even though that’s what everyone outside of the British isles will do with One Day I’m Going To Soar.
This review was loosely based on a review in Dutch on de krenten uit de pop.