The Heat

The Dan Reed Network

Mercury Records, 1991

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Success is much more timing than talent. When you exist is much more important than what you release; Kansas probably couldn't get signed today, Lauryn Hill would have been laughed out of the record label's offices ten years ago. Those are the breaks, most of the time. But because of that, a lot of interesting music gets lost in the shuffle, only to resurface echoed in the work of later artists. The current hip-hop/funk movement is a reflection of past artists' work, the groundbreaking done when it was still fringe, still marginalmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250


The Dan Reed Network was one of those fringe artists. With a short (1987-1993) career plagued by record company mispromotion and boundless ambition, they managed to turn out three CDs of pretty interesting music, as well as a debut EP. The highlight of their career was 1991's The Heat, an ambitious politically-themed CD that managed to be both serious and raucous, a well-balanced mix of fact, funk, and fun.

The Network's sound was a pastiche, part funk, part metal, part hip-hop, part synthesizer rock. This led to a textured sound that you could still rock out to, a dichotomy of technique and power that very few bands could match. _The Heat_ is by far their best CD. From the opening drive of "Baby Now I" to the backbeat of "Mix It Up" to the soft closing strains of "Long Way To Go", the quintet proved themselves a master of varying styles.

It wasn't just music that makes _The Heat_ such a standout CD, though. The Network tackled tough subjects with energy and passion, including abortion ("Blame It On The Moon") and control by society, governments, and institutions ("Thy Will Be Done"). There is also an outstanding cover of Pink Floyd's "Money" that has to be heard to be believed. The politics has energy and passion to it: it's believable, it has life. These were subjects the band cared about, yet they weren't lugubrious and preachy like a Joan Baez LP on 16 and 2/3. It's a shame that Mercury Records didn't know what to do with an integrated band who spanned genres as easy as some people span a G chord.

The Network has gone its seperate ways, and this CD's very hard to find. However, make the effort; The Heat will be worth your time.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.