Conceivably, laddish London-based pop pin-ups Busted (or Charlie, James and Mattie as our daughters-with-attitude would have it) are what evil, plan-hatching marketing men ought to have in mind if they decided the music world needed to be taken over by a milk-toothed, mind-yer-"p"s-and-"q"s version of Blink 182
. However, worrisome mums (or should that be "moms"--after all, car boots are "trunks", arses are "asses" and boyfriends get "dissed" not chucked in Busted's transatlantic teen-world) will find the lack of lyrical references to farting and fornication somewhat moralistically reassuring, although the peeping Tom confessions of hit single "What I Go to School For" and sexual fantasies about Britney ("I'll make you feel good inside") suggest that Busted's under-the-mattress porno stashes have yet to be dispensed with. Looking beyond the half-baked bad-boy image and linguistic schizophrenia, what you have here is three young guys with talent, tunes (they write their own, y'know), a decidedly English cheekiness, angry (well, perhaps slightly more cross than usual) guitars and--when they get it right--a hilariously understated way of conveying the calamity of a teenage social life ("I asked you to dance at the disco ... but you said no"). If only they could ditch the soppy ballad stuff and be done with it. --Kevin Maidment
Looking at this bunch you would have thought that the last thing they'd want to reminisce about as they embark on a glittering pop career is their academic years.
However, new boys Busted are somewhat obsessed with their time as scholars, although the chief subject of interest suggests that their concentration during these formative years was focused more on extra curricular activities than GCSE coursework. Former teacher Miss Mackenzie gets not one, but two songs dedicated to her, with recollections of their school boy crushes opening and closing the album.
Busted opens with their current hit "What I Go To School For", a healthy slab of guitar driven, chart friendly pop that gives a good indication of what to expect from the album. Think a younger, British Wheatus (although it would be hard to tell they're not Yanks if it weren't for the school uniforms in the video) or Blink 182 junior and you will be along the right lines.
Busted are here to rock - they play their own instruments and they've had a pretty confident stab at songwriting for ones so young. Although it would be hard to imagine them actually being busted for anything more risqué than staying out late on a week night. Their cheeky and geeky Green Day-type lyrics in tracks such as "Loser Kid" and the pop-punktastic "Crash and Burn", are endearingly refreshing in these days of Gareth Gates and Ronan Keating mush.
There are the more downbeat moments though, namely in the form of the A1-style naff guitar ballad "Losing You" which ventures a bit too far in to the realms of cheese. However, on the whole their memories of emotional growing pains and teen angst hits home with enough tongue in cheek, energy and fun to make Busted an admiral effort. Well done boys, B+. --Jacqueline Hodges
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