When The World Knows Your Name
Record Mirror 8th April 1989


What are you Deacon Blue, The band who’ve made not a little headway out of some artful but distinctly obvious pop/rock are back with a long awaited companion for the evergreen ‘Raintown’ that is destined to consolidate their position as the UK’s premier young ‘serious’ pop act. Deacon Blue’s potential is massive and fittingly 'When The World Knows Your Name’ deals largely in lowest common denominators — bold instrumental sweeps, striking tempo changes, forced passion, and big, would-be stadium guitar playing. Damning as these flaws may seem, the voice and evocative turn of phrase provided by Ricky Ross added to his maturing songwriting ability still manage to save the day — just.

Deacon Blue, the band, try just too damned hard, too much of the time, thumping away through ‘Wages Day’ and ‘Your Constant Heart’ when a gentler approach might have been more seductive. Even the sensitive, closing ‘Orphans’ is rudely awoken by the incessant backing wail of Lorraine McIntosh. Like a permanent saxophone player, she’s in the band and you have to use her.

On the plus side, the opening, countrified ‘Queen Of The New Year’, ‘One Hundred Things’ and the brief ‘Bad Loved Girl’ show Ricky’s maturity (now is the time to start calling yourself Richard, old mate). With ‘Love And Regret’ and ‘Circus Lights’ vying with the groovy ‘Fergus Sings The Blues’ for hit singles honours, this LP is undoubtedly destined to outshine and outsell ‘Raintown'. However, it’s still a shame, to these ears, that the band feel the need to rock out so often and that they seem to mould themselves perfectly for the ‘MTV or bust’ mix of the mighty Bob Clearmountain. Andy Strickland