Danny & The Champions Of The World are one of those bands whose name we have seen around for years and years but somehow never got to see or hear. Somehow we have ended up associating them with the Mumford & Sons ‘crew’ who were desperately lumped in to some form of scene a few years back. Thankfully with this album we have now been given the opportunity to check them out.
Our preconceived ideas are immediately blown away by opening numbers “Clear Water” and “Precious Cargo”. We were expecting some sort of folk/Americana style and not this wonderfully warm sound, which is enriched with a really soulful feel. There is certainly a country/Americana twang on “This Is Not A Love Song” and “Just Be Yourself” but really these are big, beautiful soul ballads.
Things get a little funkier on songs like “Change My Mind” and “Words On The Wind”. Maybe, it’s just the raspy voice but they had us thinking of Paolo Nutini at his best. Indeed, it is hard to understand why, with songs like this in their armoury, that Danny & The Champions Of The World haven’t hit the same level of commercial success. Certainly you would imagine that with a bit more decent airplay they could be big hit singles.
The band manage to somehow merge an almost Motown soul feel with a more Americana sound. Arguably though, tracks like “Be Alright In The End” is the type of soulful rocker that Bruce Springsteen is so good at, when he works with the E Street band. A lot of the credit also needs to go to the use of some sweet female backing vocals. On tracks like “Thinking About My Friend” they bring some light to the song which really lifts it.
This album is therefore a welcome surprise to us. It’s a timely reminder that you shouldn’t make assumptions and the dangers of pigeon holing a band without hearing them. We’re sure that established fans of the band will love this release but hopefully it will also attract a whole lot more fans and give them the greater exposure they obviously deserve.