The field for 2021 Album of the Year just got a bit more crowded.
Daughtry released their sixth studio album Dearly Beloved, today (Sept. 17), a genuinely pleasing hard rock album from beginning to end filled with modern rock melodies, sometimes ripping guitar chords, plenty of drum kicks and a few worthy ballads in this 13 song, nearly 50 minute record.
Daughtry the band, fronted by Chris Daughtry of American Idol fame, who finished in fourth-place during the fifth season of the singing series in 2006, has shed all skin of that silly series, a one-time juggernaut that eventually became a mockery. Six albums in 15 years, the self-titled debut released in 2006, Daughtry quietly releases a new album every few years gathering fans along the way just as those who came before him did in the good old days of starting a career in music.
To be fair, without American Idol Chris Daughtry might be working a day job and enjoying a cover band by night nowadays. Thankfully, as Dearly Beloved proves, Daughtry (the man) carries all the necessary tools needed to carry this group and Daughtry (the band) boasts a pretty consistent line-up of musicians proving its not how you formed its what you do when everyone gets together.
Daughtry consists of singer and guitarist Chris Daughtry, original guitarist Josh Steely and bassist Josh Paul, rhythm guitarist Brian Craddock since 2007, Elvio Fernandes who joined in 2012 on keyboards and drummer Brandon Maclin brough on for a year in 2014 and returned in 2016.
Daughtry Dearly Beloved Review
With sometimes soaring vocals, similar to those by Brent Smith of Shinedown, Daughtry carries many of the songs via microphone accentuated by both rhythm and lead guitars and held together by the drum work. Dearly Beloved starts off on a jogger’s pace, slowly builds into a determined rock sprint before backing off a bit, then hitting another stride with a string of heaviness before the final cool down and ending with a deliberate pause giving the album even more depth.
Never without vigorous melody that keeps you fully tuned in, Dearly Beloved mixes a generous blend of hard rock, if not heavy metal at times, with some lighter pop rock along with a few near wrenching melodies that embrace a near love song approach to song writing.
“Desperation” opens Dearly Beloved in a slower rock pace but builds into “World On Fire” as the guitars burst with some powerful chords while “Heavy Is the Crown” pulls back initially then gets loud pretty quick. “Changes Are Coming” fools you into thinking the slow start leads the album into a different direction but the heavy notes drop in quickly with several great guitar leads that don’t last long enough.
The title track holds its own with the ballad gems of the 80s and Daughtry pours out even more emotion for “Cry For Help” and no doubt will hit home for some. “Asylum” puts an end to the funereal with one of the heaviest and hardest of the lot. What would you expect with lyrics like “the lunatics have taken the asylum.” The bridge section for “Evil” overcomes the generic chorus preventing this one from being a bland Side B but nothing dull about “The Victim” a final entry into the hard rock nature of the album before the harmonies settle down.
The final four songs show a timely self-awareness giving the album a deeper sensitivity without straying too far from the band’s more determined roots.
“Somebody” has all the fingerprints of a great pop song with an uplifting message and great vocals, “Call You Mine” sheds everything you think you know about Daughtry in this aching love song co-written by Chris’ wife Deanna, and Lioness” starts soft, keeping in line with the previous tracks before building into a heavier rocker then returning to the start, echoing in many respects the pattern of the album.
Finally, “Break Into My Heart” closes Dearly Beloved with one of the best tracks featuring just a piano and Chris Daughtry behind the mic. His vocal ability on full display with some added heartache and pain just to make you wonder what band you’re listening to.
A well-crafted album, Dearly Beloved employs a straight froward approach to hard rock blending the modern rock sounds that emerged nearly 20 years ago with the heavier but more refined sound from the 80s in a style and artistry all their own while confidently adding a restrained approach for balance.
Daughtry Dearly Beloved Songs:
- World On Fire
- Heavy Is the Crown
- Changes Are Coming
- Dearly Beloved
- Cry For Help
- The Victim
- Call You Mine
- Break Into My Heart