City Of Love

Deacon Blue

Deacon Blue have been part of Scotland’s musical furniture for more than 30 years. Their blueprint of jazzy, soulful melodies – captured on radio friendly hits such as Real Gone Kid and Chocolate Girl – marked them out as one of the country’s strongest pop exports of the 80s. However, it has been other pursuits – politics, acting and TV and radio presenting – that Ricky Ross and Co have become, at times, equally well known for since their Top of the Pops glory days.

City Of Love – their fourth release in seven years fuelled by a ‘creative resurgence’ – sees Deacon Blue embracing themes of hope and nostalgia within relatively congenial musical settings. Weight Of The World’s poignancy points to struggles in troubled times, while In Our Room’s catchy refrain proves they haven’t lost the ability to mine early pop sensibilities when required. The brooding Keeping My Faith Alive offers the closest to edginess in the album, helped along by Gregor Philips’s jagged yet effective guitar playing.

It is on the finale On Love, however, where Ross gives sentimentality the two full barrels, with a part narrative, part sung tale of longing and memories. On initial hearing, it could easily be dismissed as a dollop of misty-eyed schlock, but with lines such as “the good ones you ignored for too long then it was too late” Ross offers a rather touching insight into the world of heartbreak and growing old.

In City Of Love Deacon Blue keep it reassuringly safe for the fans, playing to their strengths and avoiding pitfalls of keeping up the kids. Adhering to the sentiment of their greatest song, Deacon Blue are retaining their Dignity and ageing gracefully, and, well, you can’t ask for more than that.