Dexys Midnight Runners
Let the Record Show


1.5
very poor

Review

by Divaman USER (157 Reviews)
November 28th, 2016 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh, the humanity!

Every year, I choose my new music in a variety of ways. Sometimes, I'll read something about a band I haven't previously listened to, and the description will interest me enough to buy the album. Sometimes I'll hear a song I like, and it will get me to check out the album. As often as not, I'll just see that a new album has come out by an artist I've previously enjoyed, and I'll be inspired to pick it up. It's kind of like checking in on an old friend. It usually works for me.

So when I saw that Dexy's Midnight Runners (now calling themselves simply "Dexys") had a new album out, I thought "Great!". Even though I hadn't heard the band since the '80s, I thought it was a reasonable bet. I loved their 1982 Too-Rye-Ay LP. It was a solid album of Celtic-influenced rock and soul. Yes, it had the song "Come on Eileen", which had gone #1 in both the U.S. and U.K. (the video for the song was being played almost every 10 minutes on MTV), but it also had so much more than that. It had a first-rate cover of Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said". It had some great Celtic violin. And even if Kevin Rowland's voice was a bit of an acquired taste, in context, it worked. It was a damned fine album. Hell, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on this site. Even their previous album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, was decent. I don't know how or why I lost track of the Dexys after Too-Rye-Ay, but I figured 2016 was as good a time as any to get reacquainted.

In retrospect, the cover art for the new album should have been a warning sign. The photo shows an old codger wearing what almost looks like a riding outfit, with his pants hiked up nearly to his armpits, flanked by a woman dressed like a gangster's gun moll and another old dude less than stylishly dressed. Weird that these guys look so much older these days, because I look exactly the same as I used to (cough, cough), but whatever. The title was a mouthful: Let the Record Show: Dexy's Do Irish and Country Soul. Not a great title, to my mind, but God knows you can't judge the quality of the album by its moniker. The song selection made me raise my eyebrow a little, but we'll get to that.

It was Thanksgiving Day, and we had plenty of time before we had to get ready to go out, so I plugged my ipod into my speakers and hit "play". The first song was a mostly instrumental version of "Women of Ireland", a song played to great effect throughout the Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon. Not bad, kind of pretty actually. The next song was a cover of the old Bee Gees song "To Love Somebody", and this one made me squirm a little. Not very Celtic. Not very country or blues, for that matter. And what the hell happened to Kevin Rowland's voice? It was way deeper, and older sounding, than I remembered. Still, "It's only one song," I thought. Then, it all went horribly wrong.

The third song was a cover of the old Jerome Kern song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". I thought it was a strange choice when I saw the track listing, but sometimes you hear an artist do an interesting modern take on an old chestnut, right? Right?!!! ... Wrong. There was nothing modern or especially creative about the presentation, and it was about here that I noticed he was doing this weird thing with his vocals, singing every word in this strange, very distinct way, like Ian Anderson started to do a few years ago when he had blown his voice out. It was also about here when I heard my wife asking from the kitchen "What the hell are you listening to?"

It got worse. Much worse. It turns out that somewhere along the way over the course of these last 30 years, Dexys changed from being this tight Celtic rock and soul band into a Las Vegas-style lounge act. Half of the songs are done with schtick, so that when the lyrics say something about pain, Rowland is in the background screaming "Ow! I've got this pain!", and when he turns the song over to his co-singer Sean Read, it's with these little cheesy comments in between, like "Tell the people!" and "Yes he does!" At one point, during their cover of the beautiful and poignant song "Carrickfergus," he even breaks into a mock sob. (At least I think he does. I can't swear 100% that it isn't a cough instead of a sob, which raises a whole different set of issues.)

By the fourth song, my whole family was howling in pain and berating me viciously. I'm used to the idea that my children will never admit it if they like something I'm listening to, but this was genuine. There was a sad, desperate quality to their comments: "Make it stop!", "Oh God it hurts!", things like that. I felt so bad for them, I almost turned it off. But it was like an aural train wreck -- I couldn't take my ears off of it.

In the end, this might actually give that godawful Corey Feldman album a run for its money for worst album of 2016. I'll never know for sure because the song he did on The Today Show was enough to scare me off listening to any more of that album. But at least Feldman seemed to sincerely be trying, which is more than I can say about most of the songs on Let the Record Show. "Women of Ireland" was pretty good, and "The Town I Loved So Well" isn't too bad -- at least Rowland is playing it straight with that one. Most of the rest of the album is unsalvageable, though. Sputnik lets you rate an album as low as 1 star. I gave this one an extra half star, partly for "Women of Ireland" and partly as a nod of respect to the memory of Too-Rye-Ay. As for my 4 recs, I've chosen albums that do Celtic rock the way it should be done instead of trying to name comparable disasters to this one.

It actually hurt me to write this review. Not as much as it hurt my family to listen to the album, but almost. I hate trashing a band that's given me pleasure in the past. But consider this to be like one those signs: "Warning! Land Mines!," and tread carefully with this one. You'll be sorry if you don't.



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user ratings (5)
1.7
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoofusWainwright
November 28th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Checking that cover and Kevin Rowland's 100% stolen my look the old bitch

SandwichBubble
November 28th 2016


10640 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Knowing how different our tastes can be @Divaman, this is probably like a 3 for me haha



Really funny review.



Edit: I'm sorry for ever doubting you @Divaman. What a boring album

DoofusWainwright
November 28th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Great review, you know I'm going to have to check this. Always on the lookout for comedy 1's

claygurnz
November 28th 2016


5442 Comments


Come on Eileen is the worst song ever so this is probably a 1

DoofusWainwright
November 28th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"Come on Claygurnz, oh I swear what he lurnz, ah c'mon take off everything!"

DoofusWainwright
November 28th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

The only person I ever met who liked Dexys was my French teacher - last day of term one year he played one of their albums in its entirety for us. Cruelty to children right there.

Divaman
November 28th 2016


4509 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

There you go again, Doof, persecuting my people. (Yeah, yeah, I know Dexys are actually British, but you know what I mean).

Digging: Deep Cut - Different Planet

Divaman
November 28th 2016


4509 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

One of these days, I'll have to write a review for Too-Rye-Ay, since it's another one of those albums that doesn't have one. Maybe it will make the world right again after this one.

DoofusWainwright
November 28th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

You write 'em and I'll spin 'em

RadicalEd
November 28th 2016


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Come on Eileen etc...

TwigTW
November 28th 2016


3825 Comments


If you played "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving, you could have avoided all this. ;-) I listened expecting something good (maybe an older/mellower version of the band) but was also disappointed. That cover photo (a fifty-year old man dressed like a twenty-something club kid on a Saturday night) should have alerted me that it wasn't going to happen.

e210013
November 28th 2016


2619 Comments


Personally, I always really likeed of "Too-Rye-Eye". I think it was a very interesting and different musical proposal at the time. And their debut album "Searching For The Young Rebels" is also good. However, I must confess that I do not know any other album of them. By the other hand, I really do not believe their new work can be a good album or even an interesting listening. And from what I could read on the review and on the some comments of the members, I'm sure that I'm not interested on this album.

However, in relation to your review, I can't say the same. I really liked it. It gave me some pleasure to read it. As with Doofus, I always on the lookout for comedy.

Great review, pal. Pos.

Divaman
November 28th 2016


4509 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks, e, I appreciate it. Twig, you gave me a chuckle with that one -- all too true. And maybe my family would still be speaking to me, heh heh.

Divaman
November 28th 2016


4509 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Btw, I originally intended to make a reference in this review to William Shatner, due to some of Rowland's over-emoting. I even invented a word for it - "Shatneresque". But that started me down a whole rabbit hole, because they also do a cover of "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" on this album, which would have led me to a reference to that episode of the original "Star Trek" series where there's some kind of alien virus going around the ship that makes people act drunk, and the Irish guy in season 1, Corporal Riley, locks himself in the engine room and repeatedly sings that song over the ship's loudspeakers. In the end, I decided the review was punchier without making readers try to follow my insane free associations.

DoofusWainwright
November 29th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Listening now, already loving it so much.



Kevin sings a bit like Paul Daniels at times here.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiQnIBTilfw

DoofusWainwright
November 29th 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"How? HOW? How? HOW? How? HOW?....How do I liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive"



xD

Sinternet
November 29th 2016


21152 Comments


wtf these guys still exist

Digging: Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.

Divaman
November 29th 2016


4509 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Lol, do I need to send EMS to your house, Doof? ... Doof, are you still with us? ... Doof?



RadicalEd
November 29th 2016


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Decided to check this after Doofs freakout. Just. Wow.

Cygnatti
November 29th 2016


32951 Comments


I don't think I've liked a single song by this band



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