Deacon Blue A New House
Classic Pop September 2014

Album Review - A New House

Their last album, in 2012, was called The Hipsters. Whether the irony was intended is questionable, but Deacon Blue have never been cutting edge. Wildly successful, of course, but fashionable? Never. Yet they have always been consummate craftsmen of that special Scottish sound that emerged in the mid-Eighties — just as they did — with bands such as Love & Money, Del Amitri and The Silencers, then continued with Travis, and indeed still survives today, if to a lesser degree.

The fact that the band was named after a song by Steely Dan, another act who arguably rank finesse above ingenuity, confirms their priorities, and A New House maintains their carefree but nevertheless tender nature, its songs seemingly delighting in their easy-going existence. Whether tastemakers approve is of little concern here: like (especially) Fran Healy, whose voice is remarkably similar — or, indeed, Guy Garvey, at least in his emotive qualities — Ricky Ross simply wants to share his experiences in a gentle, benevolent fashion that, to use a suitably timeless Phrase warms the cockles of your heart.

On A New House — only their second album since 2001's Homesick — that means 11 amiable, honest and sanguine songs. If that sounds banal, then move on, but tales of ordinary life don't have to be average. Against an energised backdrop of piano, tumbling drums, Lorraine McIntosh's modest harmonies and a triumphant tongue twister of a chorus, Bethlehem Begins questions whether it's better to work on relationships or simply overlook their shortcomings: "Just how far we can go without working on the ending?" The title track, meanwhile, unexpectedly addresses the building of homes in the green belt — and the associated new starts and regretful nostalgia — with the same sense of measured optimism evident on Hothouse Flowers' classic People album (from 1990). Even a song concerning the weather — March, which offers a rare edge thanks to its prominent guitars —communicates a recognisable sense of joy.

By the time it's all over, following Remember Every Single Kiss — which starts out like The Blue Nile, but ends with Deacon Blue's typically resilient optimism — you'll just want to hug them... whether they're hipsters or not. ww

Single Review - A New House

The bands name is familiar, while I cannot place them to a particular song, this has classic, from the tone of the harmonies they could have started in 1966 or 1986. My own taste is towards something rather more contemporary but for the acoustic pop style this is a pretty song - If it were a new house then it would be tastefully built.