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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Dante Fox - 2016 Breathless
Dante Fox - 2016 Breathless

ARTIST: Dante Fox
ALBUM: Breathless
YEAR: 2016


LINEUP: Sue Willetts - vocals * Tim Manford - guitars * Erik Ragno - keyboards * Alan Mills - bass * Andy Perfect - drums * Lee Small - guest backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Young Hearts * 02 All Eyes On You * 03 Breathless * 04 Break These Chains * 05 Broken Hearted Man * 06 I Can't Stop Tonight * 07 Dynamite (Your Love Is Like) * 08 A Love Affair * 09 How Will You Know (Where To Find Me) * 10 Creeps Into My Mind * 11 Broken Hearted Man (Acoustic Version)



We haven't reviewed a Dante Fox album for ages, so it's good to catch up with these Birmingham melodic rockers in 2016. They used to be signed to Frontiers, but their latest album 'Breathless' has now been picked up AOR Heaven. Mainstays Sue Willetts and Tim Manford are complimented by the back three of American keyboardist Eric Ragno, bassist Alan Mills and drummer Andy Perfect; all three having particpated on Dante Fox's independent CD from 2012 'Lost Man's Ground'.

The Songs
The Dante Fox template hasn't changed a great deal since their mid 90's heyday. The glossy vocals of Willetts have always been the focal point of their music, and she leads from the front in much the same way as Leigh Matty did with Romeos Daughter. There is something for everyone on 'Breathless'. Whether you want a racy rocker such as 'Young Hearts', a deeper more intense experience as per the title track 'Breathless', or maybe a track that harks back to their earlier material, as in 'I Can't Stop Tonight'. 'How Will You Know' is pretty good, so too the short 'Creeps Into My Mind' which would make for a great unplugged tune. However, a couple of things don't quite work for me. Some of the songs sounded as if there was a vacuum within. This was noticeable on quieter passages, and also where Ragno's keyboards weren't there to provide layers. Also, a few of the tracks were too safe sounding in my opinion. I would've preferred it if DF rocked out a bit more. Not quite at the safety levels of a band like Dare for instance, but you get my point hopefully.

In Summary
'Breathless' was released last week, so it should be making waves out in the public domain at the time of writing. I know there are a lot of fans of that female-fronted melodic rock sub-genre here at GDM, so it should come as no surprise that Dante Fox sit somewhere near the top, though 'Breathless' could not be considered their best work thus far.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 30 2016 00:01:32
Dante Fox - 2016 Young Hearts
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#2 | jeffrey343 on October 17 2016 15:32:22
This is one that sounded really good the first time, but I could tell it would take time to really grow on me. It's more of a slow-burn kind of album, with lyrics that took a little more concentration for me to really get. I did end up buying the actual CD (something I don't do as often these days) so I would have the lyrics. That did help quite a bit. All lyrics were written by Sue Willetts-Manford (yep, she and Tim are now married). So they have a different flow from the typical male-perspective lyrics.

This doesn't sound like a bunch of other stuff that's coming out these days, but it is still pure AOR. Using older bands as a reference point, I'll say it sounds kinda like Heart and Shadowking. Not quite as commercial as Hearts's big three albums, but many of these songs would have worked as album cuts on those albums. And maybe 'Broken Hearted Man' could have been a successful single back in the day. Willetts has a great set of pipes, with both power and subtlety. The playing is superb, with Manford's guitars and Ragno's keyboards giving lots of atmosphere. I might have liked a bit more keyboard in places (like George mentioned) to fill out the sound. And while I first thought the album needed another rocker towards the end, 'How Will You Know' started to fill that role for me.

Overall, this is pretty darn good, and my favorite female-fronted album in - geez - more years than I can remember (except for some of the songs on that excellent Sonic Station album two years ago). It'll make my top 10 for the year for sure.
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