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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Dare - 2009 Arc Of The Dawn
Dare - 2009 Arc Of The Dawn

ALBUM: Arc Of The Dawn
LABEL: Legend Records
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Darren Wharton - vocals, keyboards * Richard Dews - guitars * Kevin Whitehead - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dublin * 02 Shelter In The Storm * 03 Follow The River * 04 King Of Spades * 05 I Will Return * 06 Emerald * 07 When * 08 The Flame * 09 Still Waiting * 10 Kiss The Rain * 11 Remember * 12 Circles



For many, Dare's 1988 debut 'Out Of The Silence' is one of the shining jewels of the AOR genre. Excusing the HM 'mistake' that was 1991's 'Blood To Stone', Darren Wharton's men have delivered their brand of ethereal celtic rock for the best part of ten years or more. Likeable though they may all be (refer the discography below), the approach has not changed since 1998's 'Calm Before The Storm'. I was kinda hoping that Darren would take Dare in a new direction, maybe somewhere along the lines of 'Out Of The Silence', but I guess that might be asking too much huh? As a result, I can't offer anything new or different to report other than what has already been said before on their prior albums. What Dare do, they do very well. They don't have any real competitors out there, and they do have many loyal fans, who lap anything the band will release. When I first slipped this album on, I was thinking the album title was mis-titled ('Arc Of The Yawn'?), however upon repeated listenings, I apologise for the tongue in cheek remark. This is quality stuff, it's just you have to be in the right mood to listen to it, and appreciate it for what it is. I guess after listening to a ton of power metal recently, it's hard to change down gears to Dare's pace.

The Songs
Taking their cue from celtic origins, the opener 'Dublin' tries hard to be true to its heritage, and for the most part succeeds admirably. 'Shelter In The Storm' is a beautiful acoustic guitar driven piece, goodness, it's got enough appeal to warrant putting on radio. Please some radio station out there, put it on your playlist! Jangly acoustic guitars and subtle keyboard layers announce 'Follow The River', the song surges ahead as it becomes more rock oriented. Plaintive and unassuming are two words to describe 'When', an easy on the ear track, but by now the band are in danger of segueing from one track to the next with no discernible difference in sound, tone, tempo etc. Like one big soundtrack. The same could be said for the remaining original tracks on the album, with the exception of the closing ballad 'Circles' which tries hard to be different. I'm not sure what the purpose of rehashing 'King Of Spades' and 'I Will Remember' (from 'Out Of The Silence') is for. If that is the case, perhaps Darren should sign up with Walmart, and release a covers CD of all of Dare's material from 'Out Of The Silence'. Personally, I find these two additions meaningless. I would've said the same about the two covers: Thin Lizzy's 'Emerald' and Cheap Trick's 'The Flame'. However, hearing these two versions it's easy to come away thinking that these are actually quite good. 'Emerald' is a very traditional sounding piece, whereas 'The Flame' is delivered beautifully, lots of ambience and melody. I reckon it's better than the original! (gasp!)

In Summary
One of the complaints from rock fans is they feel that Dare has forgotten how to rock. It's all very pleasant and full of ear candy, but not particularly challenging either. As I mentioned above, Dare's album's fall dangerously close to being one big ethereal soundtrack with no distinction between them. If this is the approach that Wharton is going to take for every future Dare release, then I really won't have much to add in any future review. Any Dare release is well worth obtaining don't get me wrong, but don't be expecting anything different or revolutionary, because you won't find it here.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 22 2009 19:29:54
You know, I read some very interesting stuff related to AOR on the web, hoewever, the opinions of some punters leaves me bemused. The 'Arc Of The Dawn' thread over at Rock Report is a case in point. Some of those hardened 'Dare believers' would have you convinced that this is the album of the year! Oh please.. frustration
#2 | Kick on November 29 2009 21:06:46
Darren Wharton creates it's own musical universum: AOR with celtic influences. As usual emotional and warm vocals (100%) and also more electric and acoustic guitar. Allright: those two oldies aren't neccessary. Out of the silence is still the very best, but this one is a very good Dare-album. For late in the evening and reading those wise lyrics. I love this band.
#3 | Jez on November 04 2010 03:24:21
Celtic inspired very light AOR, which is very pleasant, well played and recorded, but hardly makes you want to jump around the house with your tennis racket and shows that the band haven't progressed even in the slightest to give us something a little different along the way.'Arc of The Yawn' was how I described it last year and that may have been a little harsh, but not by alot I don't think.
The first 6 tracks only feature 3 new songs, the others being 2 reworkings from 'Out Of Silence' (do we really need them? NO!) which are even more laid back than the originals (and definitely no better) and a cover of the Thin Lizzy classic 'Emerald', which admittedly is nice. The second half features 5 new songs + a rather nifty cover of Cheap Trick's 'The Flame' which they have done with some style and is one of the highlights of this album, although in no way better than Zander and Co.'s classic version. The rest is of a similar nature and as before, is all well done without getting the pulse racing.
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