Deacon Blue ‘The Hipsters’

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#818 in the Series) is Deacon Blue, The Hipsters

Deacon Blue, The criminally ignored, critically acclaimed, and artistically brilliant band from Glasgow, Scotland, with The Hipsters, their 25th album and their first in 11 years, has delivered a solid set of pop-centric tunes that are sneakily good, and could stand up to anything that has been released in the current millennium. With six million album sales, 12 top forty hits in the U.K., and two number one albums, the group was popular on the musically astute side of the pond, but if you would have asked any of the un-washed U.S. musical listening masses about Deacon Blue they probably would have said they were a Steely Dan cover band.

25 years gone by from opening for The Waterboys, Deacon Blue is actually on their second go-around as far as comebacks go. Since I was not overly familiar with the back pages of this band, I warmed up for the writing of this review by listening to “Real Gone Kid” the wildly popular hit single  from the When the World Knows Your Name album. The brilliant upbeat song could have easily fit on to the set list of The Hipsters, and the video would have been awesome.  Thankfully, and awesomely, their sound has not changed at all, and the intertwining vocals of Rickey Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, then and now, sound very much like mid-era Fleetwood Mac with Ross playing the Buckingham role in a slightly lower register.

I have tried this record as a Sunday Morning record as well as a cocktail hour mingling sort of background and it works brilliantly in both venues, although in the happy hour setting it seems I spent the whole time answering the elephant in the room question, “who are these guys, they are great.

Despite the beautiful piano chords that open the album on “Here I am in London Town” the song has a certain old school “Babys” feel to it in places, but thankfully the fleeting glimpse of bad 80’s rock gives way to a beautifully crafted song that is one of the most elegant recordings I have heard in a long time, and any thoughts of this album having a moldy derivative sound are completely dashed with the title track. “The Hipsters” is a swelling, anthemic track that updates itself with a certain Gaslight Anthem feel, and the addition of the McIntosh whispering vocals in the closing moments of the song moves the song up a notch to beatific.

If the listener requires an answer to the question of why the band got back together to record this album, a critical listen to the song “The Outsiders”  is in order, and listened to in conjunction with “That’s What We Can Do” you get the feeling that this latest incarnation  is not a matter of them wanting to get back together, it was a matter of them needing to get back together, making this the best sort of reunion album, one that is created from the love of the band, the love of the music, and the love of the fans rather than a burnt through all my royalty checks money grab.

“We took the road, any road, every road out of here. Forgot the past, cut the strands, made a path, took a stand, chased the day, raced the night, grabbed our chance didn’t look back to where we’d come from.”

For a band that seems to have worn the non-hipster flag proudly, it is somewhat ironic that they would name their latest album The Hipster especially since they seem to share some DNA with popular hipster bands of the day including LCD Soundsystem, The Gaslight Anthem, and Mumford and Sons to some extent.

And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to have a three way. It is a beautiful day despite the calendar turning to December, and I am going to repair to my patio listening lair to visit with my new friends, the first three Deacon Blue albums; Raintown, When the World Knows Your Name, and Fellow Hoodlums.  I think I need to see what I have been missing all these years.

Walt Falconer, Houston Texas, USA

Track listing

  1. “Here I Am In London Town” 2:59
  2. “The Hipsters” 3:19
  3. “Stars” 3:42
  4. “Turn” 3:19
  5. “The Rest” 3:37
  6. “The Outsiders” 4:05
  7. “That’s What We Can Do” 3:53
  8. “She’ll Understand” 3:38
  9. “Laura From Memory” 3:25
  10. “It Will End In Tears” 3:39
  11. “Is There No Way Back to You” 4:22

Personnel

Deacon Blue

  • Lorraine McIntosh – Vocals
  • James Prime – Keyboards
  • Ricky Ross –  Piano, Strings, Vocals
  • Dougie Vipond – Drums, Vocals

Additional Musicians

  • Lewis Gordon – Bass
  • Greg Lawson – Viola, Violin
  • Malcolm Lindsay – Strings
  • Gregor Philp – Guitar, Vocals
  • Mick Slaven – Guitar

Related Links

Here are some additional albums from 2012

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Posted by Larry Carta


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