Album #113: Deacon Blue – City of Love

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Label: Earmusic
  • Best Track: Wonderful

There’s no doubt that Deacon Blue have written some of the best pop songs ever. I’m mentioned before about my habit of watching the Friday night BBC Four re-runs of Top of the Pops on this blog. As they were working their way through late 1988 when ‘Real Gone Kid’ was in the charts, the excitement around that song was palpable. It’s almost like the presenters were saying “now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…”

It’s not just that song though. They rolled out one catchy-as-anything hit after another back then – ‘Fergus Sings the Blues’, ‘Wages Day’, ‘Dignity’, the list goes on. Perhaps surprising then that they’re one of those bands where I’ve never thought to give them the time of listening to an album. Today, I’m going to employ the same irritating habit I did when reviewing the new Pet Shop Boys and Nada Surf albums – skipping decades of their work and expecting their latest release to sound the same as what they wrote a generation ago.

Ninth album City of Love was released in March, and contains the same narrative style of lyrics and open-hearted songwriting you’d expect from the Scottish pop-rock band. It’s fair to say though that there’s nothing on here that would get your miserable uncle off his arse and on the dancefloor at a wedding like ‘Real Gone Kid’ might. Songs are very mature and adult-oriented, which is probably a polite way of saying they’re a bit safe and pedestrian for my tastes.

Still, it has its moments. I think the last three tracks are pretty strong. ‘Come on In’ is a moving and heartfelt call, and I like how Ricky Ross’s Scottish accent comes through, and ‘Wonderful’ is a , well, wonderful penultimate track – more wistful and ethereal than anything I was expecting to hear on this album

City of Love won’t have disappointed the band’s diehard fans. I suppose I’m just more of a casual observer.

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