Friday, 9 September 2016

Dodgy - What Are We Fighting For

Ah those heady Brit Pop days! Looking back two decades, I know, I know, it wasn't all about Blur v Oasis and Jarvis waving his backside at Michael Jackson. There was some great pop to come out of it and that can get forgotten amongst the images of Liam gurning.

That Pop included the likes of The Lightning Seeds, The Bluetones, The Supernaturals and many more, but one band more than any lit up Brit Pop. Dodgy were kings of summer pop and lest we forget became rather big, noting their Glastonbury 1997 slot.

Three fantastic albums and a run of singles from So Let Me Go Far to Found You that stands up with any fine pop you'd care to name. Live they were a great trio too, they could play, All are equal in that effort, but a special mention should go to drummer Mathew Priest, one of the most underrated drummers around. Those harmonies were ace too, testified by their acoustic performances.

Before we get to the now, kudos should be given to Nigel Clark's  excellent solo album, 21st Century Man.

Comebacks are always dicing with danger, but 2012's Stand Upright In A Cool Place was great. The trademark harmonies were there, but it wasn't a continuation of the past. More acoustic, certainly darker, without insulting the band, it seemed a really grown up album. There was plenty of sterling guitar from Andy Miller. An all round cracker of an offering.

So what of 2016? Well the three piece have been expanded by adding Stu Thoy on Bass and Ultrasound's Vanessa Wilson is on four of the tracks.

The new album certainly isn't acoustic dominated, as demonstrated by the opener above.  Now Means Nothing is the 60's of early Who and California Gold is West Coast wonder down to Any Miller's trippy solo. Are You The One is superb, harmonies and jangling are all present, a great song and probably the best track on the album with another great Miller solo.

Demonstrating the variety, The Hills could be any great 70's Singer Songwriter, Al Stewart springs to mind. Never Stop is pure Psych Pop. Mended Heart could be CSNY What Are We Fighting For, the title track, is a six and a half minute behemoth. a splendidly orchestrated anthem, absolute joy.

What Are We Fighting For isn't the happy clappy Dodgy of 20 years ago, but would you want it to be? We have those songs for the summer months forever. The harmonies and technical ability are still there and Nigel Clark is in fine voice, but this is a much deeper album and all the better for it.

The 2016 Dodgy could very well have provided their best album yet and have certainly provided a contender for anyone's Top 20 albums of the year.

Absolutely Wonderful!

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