In the 27 years since Dexy's Midnight Runners' last studio album, frontman Kevin Rowland has become more renowned for his financial problems, drug addiction, and of course, his bizarre drag makeover on 1999's career-suicide My Beauty than the wondrous blend of blue-eyed soul, post-punk, and folk-pop that he conquered the charts with in the early '80s. One Day I'm Going to Soar, the band's first release since 1985's poorly received Don't Stand Me Down, doesn't reach anywhere near the heights of "Come On Eileen" or "Geno," but it's far from the embarrassment of his solo effort. Opening track "Now" sets the eccentric tone immediately, as its stately piano riffs and mournful violins make way for a contrasting folksy stomp featuring a typically rousing chant of "Attack! Attack!" while elsewhere, there are solid forays into '70s string-soaked disco ("I'm Always Going to Love You"), lounge bar jazz-soul ("Me"), and best of all, seductive Al Green-esque funk ("She Got a Wiggle"). Ever the showman, Rowland's theatrical tendencies are still as ham-fisted as they were in his heyday, as evident on the melodramatic cabaret number "Look," as on "Incapable of Love," a battle of the sexes duet featuring the equally overblown tones of Madeleine Hyland. There's little need for such a "subtlety of a sledgehammer" approach as Rowland's highly confessional lyrics are dramatic enough on their own. Appearing to revel in picking his own personality apart, there are spoken word notes to self, declarations of independence, and tales of self-loathing, all of which make you feel like you've wandered into a brutally honest but utterly compelling therapy session. One Day I'm Going to Soar hardly justifies the almost-three-decade wait, but it's as marvelously idiosyncratic as any longtime fan could hope to expect.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien