Review by Alan Holloway
Back in the day (yeah, I'm old) I'd buy pretty much anything Kerrang! told me to, and pretty much ebjoyed it all as well. One such disc was Dan Reed Network's sophomore release "Slam", which came out in 1989, a year after the debut. I remember well travelling to Shades (buy or die!) in London to get my CD signed, and I still have it to this day. Indeed, I even slip in a track or two when I'm DJing, as a bit of "Rainbow Child" or "Tiger In A Dress" easily passes as contemporary music thirty years on.
Ah yes, thirty years on, and time for the ever popular anniversary tour. In this case it's a triple heard with FM, revisiting their own second album"Tough It Out", and Gun, playing though their debut. I actually saw all three on their original tours and have been enjoying digging the relevant albums out. Thing is, there's no Dan Reed digging required, as I've now got a shiny new copy of "Slam" plus my first ever CD copy of the debut (I had it on cassette).
Both albums are excellent, there's no other word for them. Whilst the debut has such catchy funk rockers as the awesome "Ritual" and "Forgot To Make her Mine", it also has some great chill out tracks, too, like Tamin' The Wild Nights' and "Halfway Around The World". Catchy, funky and passionate, it was a surprise when the band came up with an even better album a year later. "Slam" is simply a timeless classic, less out and out funk than it's predecessor but still unafraid to funk it up when needed and to rock it up when a change of style is required. "Rainbow Child" is a hippy love song that I think I will never grow tired of, and "Strong As Steel" would be a massive romantic hit in any sane world (not this one, then). It's a beautifully balanced album that, like the debut, makes you want to dance and smooch in equal measure. Seriously,these are two albums that have stood the test of time with consummate ease and everyone should own them.
Now as for the reissues... well, there's not a lot to say as there's zero extras. The 2019 "Slam" is identical to my 1989 copy, and although it's been remixed the original was pretty darned good and if I'm honest I didn't really notice. If you originally have the CDs then this isn't really aninvestment I can reccommend unless you're a completist. However, if you don't own them, or want to check them out before (or even after) the tour, then you should definitely pick them up, as Dan Reed Network were one of the most original, entertaining, creative and expressive bands of the late Eighties. Slam dunk the funk, because everyone needs to own these.