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Album: Dexys - The Feminine Divine | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Dexys - The Feminine Divine

Album: Dexys - The Feminine Divine

Theatrically engaging suite of songs centred on womanhood, masculinity and sensual liberation

Ode to the intoxicating glow of womanhood

In 2012 Dexys returned with their fourth album, and first in 27 years, One Day I’m Going to Soar. It was a concept piece, original and funny, chewing over the volatility of love, containing wonderful set-pieces, most especially a trio of songs at its centre (“I’m Thinking of You”, “I’m Always Going to Love You” and “Incapable of Love”) which humorously excoriated the fickleness of romance.

Their latest, is similarly constructed, albeit around a different theme. Anyone who connected with One Day I’m Going to Soar will likely find much to enjoy. Dexys mainstay Kevin Rowland gives us a suite of songs that ponder the intoxicating essence of womankind, and, in relation to that, what it is to be a man, untethered and spiritually, sexually free, all eventually tinted with sub/dom ritual (Female voice on “Goddess Rules”: “You serve me, and I do what I want, when I want, alright?” Rowland: “Yes”). This could be queasy or portentous but isn’t. After opening with a big brassy love song, Rowland dives into spectacularly uninhibited self-empowerment on the brassy bouncer “I’m Going to Get Free” and show tune-ish highlight, “It’s Alright Kevin (Manhood 2023)”.

His vocals sometimes verge on caricature, but it’s done with such don’t-give-a-damn aplomb. The enjoyable Seventies Philadelphia disco stomp of “Coming Home” continues the personal freedom mission, then we’re into devoted woman-worship on the reflective, cinematic spoken word title track.

The latter half of the album continues in this vein, theatrical numbers wherein Rowland submits to the will of a woman who’s off out for the evening and will be in someone else’s arms. “My Submission” is a lovely, lullaby-like reverbed piano slowie that explicitly attends to this before, on the closing “Dance With Me”, a slow, sexy funk-off, Rowland lets his woman go: “And now I’m all alone, you’ve gone into the night/I’m thinking about you now as somebody holds you tight/Can’t wait to see you again and hear about your night/I hope you’ll take that love, ‘cause it’s your God-given right”.

With One Day I’m Going to Soar, Dexys performed a series of exhilarating musical theatre-style shows, expanding its narrative qualities. This would work well here too. In the meantime, Rowland remains an idiosyncratic talent, swerving far from Dexys’ last album (of mostly folky Irish songs). Never predictable, he’s always intriguing. More importantly, The Feminine Divine is an ebullient, engaging and uplifting listen.

Below: Watch the video for "My Submission" by Dexys

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