The last single from London based singer/songwriter Dexy was the seasonal ‘Xmas Lights’ in 2018, an affecting meditation on love and loss with bittersweet lyrics such as ‘….I can’t stand another Christmas alone…’ or ‘….I’m blowing out all the candles…pushed your presents back under the bed….’. That may seem a bit downbeat but it is strangely uplifting especially when the full band sound kicks in.
Now new release ‘Drop Your Hand’ arrives, a precursor to his second long-player in early 2021. This is more up-tempo, driven along by rhythm guitar and featuring Hammond organ textures and a persistent drum pulse from collaborator Steve.
Dexy’s vocal delivery has a purity that is laced with tension and reflection ‘…..getting older takes no effort at all….but getting kinder?…that’s a task too tall…’. It is appropriate to the dismissive tone of some of the words, describing that the only way out of the difficult situation is just ‘moving on’. This is summarised concisely in the final stanza ‘……tried to walk together….but you’ve got some way to go…and we could talk forever….and you’d still say you don’t know….so drop your hand, I’ll burn this bridge alone…’.
The metre of the final phrase could be a musical nod to ‘I’ll Sail My Ship Alone’ made popular by Hank Williams or the similarly titled hit by The Beautiful South. As in those songs, the reluctant optimism in ‘Drop Your Hand’ is underpinned by melancholy and a memorable melody; this would make a strong opening track for the forthcoming album…?