DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB – Exception (Fiction)

One of the best singles released last year was Detroit Social Club’s ‘Kiss The Sun’, and it only took a couple of hearings for me to put their debut album on my wishlist. Now that it is here I can see if that song was a one-off or the standard that I can expect from the whole album. As if to ease me in gently the band open with ‘Kiss The Sun’, reminding me how good they can be, before an orchestral sweep introduces ‘Northern Man’. This is a slower song, and shows that vocalist David Burn can do more than swaggering lad-rock. The strings add an extra dimension to the song, and there in just two tracks we have a complete picture of what the band can achieve. ‘Black & White’ was another song that crept out earlier this year, and it was a further reason that I was looking forward to this record so much. It is a dark, brooding piece, which somehow manages to include a catchy chorus in amongst the claustrophobic melody. ‘Chemistry’ is an anthemic piece of music, alternating between fragile vocals on the verses to full blown choruses featuring the whole band. ‘Sunshine People’ shows that the band know how to put together a crowd pleaser, as on first hearing it doesn’t seem to sit easily with the other material, but after a couple of listens you realise that this is going to go down a storm at their gigs – and it is so good to hear a real guitar solo on a modern rock record for a change. ‘Rivers And Rainbows’ seems to be going down the Kasabian route, with its thundering drums and echo-laden vocals repeating the same phrase over and over, and while it is OK it is something of a comedown after the majestic power of the first five songs. ‘Silver’ is a funky little piece, very reminiscent of Happy Mondays or Stone Roses with its loping basslines and murmured vocals, but ‘Prophecy’ jerks us back to reality with another of those anthemic choruses wrapped around an uplifting lyric that shows the band at their best. ‘Universe’ slows things down for another Kasabian influenced mix of electronic effects and pounding drums, before ‘Lights Of Life’ rounds off the album with an atmospheric ballad. Keep listening, though, and you will hear the hidden track ‘Mind At War’, which is really just too good to be hidden away and possibly missed. The strings make a welcome return, and together with some fine playing from the band they help the track build to a thrilling climax. I am pleased to say that ‘Kiss The Sun’ was in no way a one-off, and this album will stand as one of my favourites from the year - and despite the name the band hail from Tyneside, so another great home-grown band that we can brag about.

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