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Victims of bad timimg
on 17 June 2004
This underrated and undervalued group always seemed to release albums at just the wrong time. 'Babe Rainbow' came out when American grunge was 'in' and the following year's 'Audience With The Mind' was 12 months too soon for Britpop. And this (ironically, much delayed) album came out just when the UK was going Madchester crazy.
Stangely enough, the opening track,'Hannah', bears some resemblance to 'I Wanna Be Adored', the first song on the Stone Roses' eponymous debut. As it slides away elegantly, it gives way to the shimmering 'Shine On' (the band's only Top 20 hit). The rest of Side 1 (I'm talking in vinyl terms here) is equally impressive, apart from the lumpen 'The Hedonist'.
'I Don't Know Why I Love You' is a rollicking rock song, kicked into life by a guitar riff similar to The Only Ones' 'Another Girl, Another Planet.'
Side 2 opens with the brusque, tumbling 'Never', derided at the time as a poor follow-up to 'I Don't Know Why....', but now sounding fine to these ears. 'Someone's Got To Love You' is a sad, silky love song, but the highlight for me is the next track, 'In A Room.' There's a real sense of drama and momentum in this song,and the lyrics are more straightforward, less opaque, than on other tracks - "When I'm drunk in a room, that's when I think of you."
In retrospect, Guy Chadwick and Co were just born 10 years too early. You can hear echoes of their work in bands of today like Coldplay and Snow Patrol. The same keening, shimmering guitars, the same sense of drama and dynamics. Yeah, they coulda been superstars, but for an accident of birth.