What is love? It’s a question that has inspired and beguiled artists since the moment a caveman put charcoal to wall and began expressing himself. It’s hard to believe there is anything left to say on the subject, given the longevity of the ruminations, but it seems there is, if you believe Danny and the Champions of the World.
No slouches at wearing their hearts on their sleeves in the past, their fifth album, What Kind Of Love, is a non-stop ode to love in its many joyous, heartbreaking and emotional forms. It is an unashamed dashing bound through love and it is, in the most part, an absolute joy to behold.
It is also a genuinely soulful record. From the punchy opening pairing of ‘Clear Water’ and ‘Precious Cargo,’ songs that owe as much to the horn section at Stax Records as they do to the band’s own brand of Caledonian soul, to the closing slide-guitar meander of ‘The Sound Of A Train’, it is a collection as big and passionate as the sentiment it is trying to capture.
That is not to say it is without lesser moments. In truth, there are a fair few questionable choices – the overbearing jangling guitar of ‘Can I Change My Mind’ grates after mere moments, while the title track tries too hard to be emotionally bold and brassy and ends up feeling a little forced as a result – but those moments are delivered with such honesty, that they can be forgiven.
It also helps that in ‘This Is Not A Love Song’, the band have managed to find the exact mid-point between The Faces and The Rolling Stones and mined the pure heartbreaking musical gold that lies there.
There are many words you could use to describe What Kind Of Love. Heartfelt, sincere and ebullient all spring to mind. But one overpowers them all – brave. In these cynical hipster times, with all the knowing nods and snarky comments that abound, it is a courageous band that not only includes a lyrical bridge which simply goes ‘sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na’, but puts in the opening track of an album as their notice of intent.
And for that, and the dozens of other gloriously honest moments that shine through the album, What Kind Of Love deserves a whole heap of praise.