Review By Woody
The Classic Tyke line-up reformed way back in 2004 and have been steadily gigging over the years keeping many of us happy with fantastic high energy performances and above all else keeping the Tyke music alive! It’s been a long time since Strength In Numbers hit the streets way back in 1994 but finally the stars have aligned and the band have given their fans what they have been screaming for! So Danny Vaughn (Vocals) Brooke St James (Guitars) Jimi Kennedy (Bass) and Michael Clayton (Drums) return with the bands fourth album Dig In Deep.
First off this album rocks pure and simple, the band have taken their time getting round to this album but they have definitely delivered their best! If you’re a Tyke fan do not approach this album hoping for carbon copy songs from their first two albums, as you’ll be disappointed and it’s a real shame if you dismiss this album because you’re looking for something from the past! Don’t get me wrong this is undoubtedly a Tyke record and had the band never split and continued to record frequently this is what I believe they would have evolved into anyway! All those Tyke trademarks are in there and you will recognise this album immediately as their creation, but it’s mixed up in a more mature sound and is definitely a far stronger album lyrically. This album is definitely for rock fans looking for something with a bit of substance to it rather than some throwaway pop stuff.
Vaughn has grown a lot over the years with his lyric writing and has become a very popular lyricist and rightly so. Here Danny so obviously has thrown his heart and soul into creating relatable, thoughtful and rousing lyrics and it shows, these songs feel loved, accusations of been half arsed or resting on their laurels can NOT been thrown at the Tyke’s! Vocally Vaughn as you’d expect is on fire and proves song after song why he’s one of the best rock singers in the world. Crafting beautiful melodies and rousing sing along moments.
I know a few feel that Danny’s reputation is overblown by a few hardcore fan boys, but I truly don’t understand those statements! Vaughn is a passionate musician and his attitude towards music and performances endear me to him, as I love music that comes from the heart. That doesn’t deflate his talent though, why would people be fans of someone who doesn’t deliver the goods?
Brooke St James also plays a blinder and he tries to mix his performances up a bit going from big power chord riffs to exceedingly multi layered melodic guitar playing. A lot of the songs show signs of other genre’s influences and with St James's versatile guitar skills it allows the band to do this and it also keeps the album fresh throughout and gives all the songs their own identity. I think with less ‘label’ pressure St James has been let off the leash a little and is a bit more adventurous in his guitar riffs and his inspirations, there is southern, blues and country tinged stuff but don’t worry this IS melodic rock!
Although listening to the album through I think the earthy and blueiser sound of the band could potentially crossover into the more mainstream circles that Black Stone Cherry and Rival Sons occupy. That style of heavy blues rock is exceedingly popular at the moment, and whilst the Tyke’s are far too melodic (Thank God) to fit easily into those circles, some of the songs here would branch into their fan bases!
Kennedy and Clayton provide a driving rhythm section when needed and on the rockers really get the head a bopping! Fair enough this album may not have instant ‘pop’ choruses in abundance but all the melodies are strong and memorable. It’s a solid and enjoyable slab of melodic rock with a contemporary and mature feel to it.
‘Faithless’ is a great powerful opening cut with a huge riff from St James to grab your attention; this will without doubt be a popular live tune! ‘Love To Love’ is an acoustic driven mid-tempo rocker and is very reminiscent of Strength In Numbers. It perhaps has a harder guitar edge though but has that feel to it. I love Danny’s vocals on this track. ‘Here’s Hoping It Hurts’ has a real retro vibe to it and is pop edged with a cool chorus. Lyrically fans of Vaughn’s solo work will be very happy, great stuff!
‘Battle Lines’ like many Tyke songs is acoustic driven and again more great lyrics here. A mid paced rock song with a cool smooth chorus on which Vaughn’s voice just hit’s all the right spots. ‘The Fight Left In Me’ is rousing and powerful and some great guitar licks compliment some outstanding vocals. I love this track and its chorus is a really rousing rebel yell! Albeit it a highly melodic one! I love the Hammond organ that is all over ‘Evaporate’ which has an awesome highly melodic chorus, it’s a very typical Tyke tune. It’s definitely one of the more instant songs.
‘Monday’ contains some great highly melodic and multi layered guitar work from St James. It has a smooth melodic chorus with melodies that Danny just excels on. For the title track ‘Dig In Deep’ can you say rock anthem?! It has a great drive and pounding beat that grab you from the onset, a driving rocker with a suitably driving chorus! ‘Sound Off’ is sure to be a stalwart in the Tyke’s live set from now on. With its driving guitar sing it out loud chorus I can see this getting even the most exhausted of crowds bouncing. Some thought provoking lyrics too regarding manufactured music and the death of music creativity and diversity also known as ‘The X factor’ and ‘Pop idol’.
‘Let This One Slide’ is a nice melodic mid tempo tune with a very strong melodic chorus, it was actually one of the first songs to be a hit with me! The only out and out ballad closes the album ‘This Is How We Say Goodbye’ it’s a very emotional song and Danny pours his heart out in his performance. It’s an outstanding song which is heavy on the melody, a stripped bare ballad with an Americana / country atmosphere to it. Some great lyrics on this one thanks to Danny, I particularly liked the lyrics on this one.
Dig In Deep rubs shoulders with Don’t Come Easy and Strength In Numbers with ease. It is a Tyke classic, more mature and a tad heavier in parts but brimming with luxurious melodies and anthemic rockers born for the live arena. It’s been a LONG time coming, but the Tyke’s are back and they haven’t disappointed us, with a solid album very much showing us the fight left in them!
Track Listing: Faithless / Love To Love / Here’s Hoping It Hurts / Battle Lines / The Fight Left In Me / Evaporate / Monday / Dig In Deep / Sound Off / Let This One Slide / This Is How We Say Goodbye
Album Rating: 9/10
Woody’s Essential Track: The Fight Left In Me