[sic] Magazine

Danny & The Champions Of The World – Hearts & Arrows

Heartfelt, honest, genuine: Danny Wilson is back, and so too the collection of roots-y adjectives fast becoming his signature. No longer content with knocking out beautifully hook-laden folk-rock, Wilson has changed his band significantly since 2010’s The Streets Of Our Time , so too his medium. For, now onto his tenth album (the third with The Champions Of The World and its fluid member-base), Hearts & Arrows sees Wilson wholly embracing the Stratocaster of his chosen artwork, plugging it in and heading deep into heartland rock.

Tellingly, on production duty we find Ted Hutt , the man most notably, in this context at least, responsible for the recent Gaslight Anthem output. The timely E-Street sax tribute then on “Brothers In The Night” should come as no surprise, nor too the fragile Nebraskan ballads “Walk With Me” and “Too Tough To Cry”.

Wilson reverts to type, bringing Neil Young influences to the fore on the intriguing “Colonel & The King” – a track on which he examines the relationship between Elvis Presley and his manager. And, just has Kurt Vile has already done this year, “Soul In The City” distils decades of FM rock into an agreeable, Tom Petty -shaped slice. On the other hand, the solid title track, representative of two or three of the MOR offerings that Hearts & Arrows houses in total, recalls the least cringe-worthy parts of the Bon Jovi canon, in this case its 12-string arpeggios saving the day by adding a country accent to proceedings.

Yet, Hearts & Arrows ultimately prays to only one God. Proving the point, and wearing its heart on its tattooed sleeve in the process, the anthemic chorus on the otherwise downbeat opener, “Ghosts In The Wire’, comes full of identifiably denim-clad overtones. Similarly, the interesting electronic flutter that runs through “On The Street” compliments its oh-so-Jersey features and knowing “ sha la la ” structures in just the right way.

Reputedly, Wilson’s being sick of trendy, “bearded” folk led him to Hearts & Arrows . Woe betide any over-attention then when it comes to this strain of Americana in future, because clearly the lure of E and 10th is yet to disappoint, and who are we to argue with that.

Advised downloads: “Ghosts In The Wire” and “Too Tough To Cry”.

~Hearts & Arrows is out now on SO Records .~

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