On New Years Eve 2009 I played the album Free Peace Sweet by Dodgy for the first time in over ten years. I was struck by how damn good it was and it shot right up my all time favourite list, I felt bad that I’d been ignoring it for so long.
I was on my way to a party to see some good friends and as it was a long coach journey away I had plenty of time to indulge in some tunes. I scrolled through my ipod to this album, pulled an ‘Adam Buxton doing Bobby De Niro’ face and pressed play.
The drums at the start sound like an urban nightmare which then abruptly fade into the first single In A Room. This is a song of introspection with no other faces around. There seems to be a yearning from Nigel that he needs to be with his soul mate but first he has to get on with the business of his day to day life.
Trust In Time and You’ve Got To Look Up are massively joyous. Like Austin Powers swinging through London but with particularly excellent stereo panning.
After a self indulgent wallow (If You’re Thinking Of Me) he realises that his relationship must be a two way street of mutual pleasure (Good Enough). Once he and his lover are together he ain’t no longer asking for change because he has found her. As long as things can stay as they are they will both be in contented happiness.
‘To make this good it’s understood that everything we see will carry on.’
Our hero is welcomed into his lover’s family by a baptism of booze during which he casts a judgemental eye over Jack the Lad who is either an echo of his former life or a possible path he could have chosen for himself – boozing, fighting and vomiting.
There follow some deep musings on mortality and the passing on of his flame. The track Long Life is by far my favourite on the album. It is unashamedly sentimental and always brings a lump to my throat. The harmonies, lyrics and Andy’s beautiful guitar solo are about as perfect as music can get.
The album was released in 1996 to much success and although I remember reading about a potential follow up at the time, the original members wouldn’t record again until 2011.
It doesn’t matter. Pristine production, tight performances and songs bursting with life.
Homegrown is the way that it should be.