9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2003
Of the Britpop explosion circa 1994/5, The Bluetones were perhaps the dark horses. Although a brilliant working unit, with the excellent Mark Morris on vocals, with witty lyrics and jangly-catchy riffs and jaunt-along semi-anthems, the bands apparent lack of bite and, dare I say it, ‘attitude’ denied them the opportunity to be as successful as some of their counterparts. Judging by this 16 track collection this is a band that should/could have been bigger had they actually pushed themselves a little harder. Although only three albums down the line, two of which are excellent, a singles collection does seem to work in this case as there are so many songs constantly drifting through the airwaves that people know but generally forget are by The Bluetones. Opening with the punchy, well-harmonised ‘Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?’, and continuing through the humorous ‘Marblehead Johnson’, the dark love number ‘Sleazy Bed Track’ and ending with some of their newer material; the ultra-catchy ‘Freeze Dried Pop’ and the extremely British ‘After Hours’. Everybody knows The Bluetones as that band that did ‘Slight Return’, here as track number three, a wonderfully naive catchy pop number that makes you realise why we all the needed the Britpop burst, but there is a lot more to this band than meets the eye. Their music is catchy, but not cheesy, nice, but not embarrassing. This CD is a perfect collection of wonderfully crafted indie-pop – go on, put it on and feel good! The music industry needs bands like The Bluetones.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2002
A great collection of singles from a band who write near-perfect guitar pop. This marks the transition from the early gems of 1995/1996 with their very distinctive sound, through to the Mexican influence of the (much under-rated) second album, and then to the third album, by which time they were trying lots of different approaches to retain the popularity that seemed to be fading when, by rights, they should have become a national treasure; through to the four new songs, which are all fine examples of what makes the band so appealling, with Persuation and The Bluetones Big Score standing out.
A gripe is that the excellent Castle Rock, double A-side with Cut Some Rug, is inexplicably ommitted, especially as it's one of the tracks not available on any other album. And although clearly a great album, to have realeased a 'best of' instead of 'singles collection' might have allowed them to have included a few classic album tracks, such as Putting Out Fires, Ames and Tiger Lily, which deserve a second outing, and even some of their many superb B-sides, such as I was A Teenage Jesus (although perhpas they can all be released simultaneously as another collection). The band has such a consistently rich output that just releasing the singles seems a bit of a shame.
Minor gripes aside, it's still brilliant to hear classics such as Bluetonic, Slight Return, Marblehead Johnson, Sleazy Bed Track and If... and Keep the Homefires Burning on the same album. Also, the limited-edition single 4-day Weekend, from 1998, is included and that can only be a good thing. It would be great to think that people will take this album to their hearts and give the band the support to continue long into the future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Ever since Slight Return peaked at No.2 in early '96, the Bluetones have been a downward spiral as far as commercial success is concerned. However, on the basis of this singles collection there is no reason to suggest why. Possibly always overlooked as an album band despite 3 cracking albums, the Bluetones' forte has always been their singles as this collection shows.
Listed in chronological order as most of these collections tend to be nowadays the cd kicks off with the great Are You Blue Or Are You Blind and never lets up from here on in. Every song had it's own irresistible melody which are instantly catchy as well as witty and strange lyrics that you remember because of this but they make for great singalong songs. All their singles are included (with the exception of Castle Rock which was the double A side to Cut Some Rug) as well as four new tracks. Every song on here is a gem with my personal favourites being Autophilia, Solomon Bites The Worm and the amazinf If but there is no duff song here and all suggest of what a huge band they could have been with no real lack of quality as they have progressed with their new songs being just as good as their biggest hits. This a great collection for a casual fan of the band and a lover of great music to see what they've been missing.
The CD also includes a bonus disc with cover versions as well as the lead single from the collection After Hours (which is also on the main album). These songs are good too.
All in all a brilliant album showing what a class band the Bluetones really are and a must buy and if you ever get the chance - see them live as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2002
The Bluetones' popularity simply beggars my belief. Ever since I saw them live back in 1998 I've considered them one of the most underrated bands of our time. And this album simply proves my point emphatically. From the quick-paced 'Are You Blue Or Are You Blind' through the funky 'Solomon Bites The Worm' to the great new track 'The Bluetones Big Score' this album is faultless. A prime example of how great the indie scene really could be and testimony to just why The Bluetones have such staying power despite their small commercial popularity. May it continue for many more years.
This is a fantastic album that anyone who considers themselves a true music lover should at least be familiar with if not own. Get yer credit card out and roll on their next album!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2004
I hadn't heard of The Bluetones before, but after seeing their video for 'Slight return' i thought i would check them out, and i have no regrets. This album is a great summary of what great work The Bluetones have produced. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who are interested in the band and have not yet bought any of their records. Absolutely amazing.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2002
To all old & new fans - U MUST BUY THIS!
With some classic old & new songs this is a must, the highly under rated Bluetones have produced some excellent catchy melodies over the years. Classic songs including Bluetonic & Marblehead Johnson to the hilariously funny Freeze Dried Pop. There latest offerings show no sign of the mighty Tones disappearing or losing their form. With After Hours & Persuasion this surely shows that The Bluetones have plenty more to offer. I sincerely hope so.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2002
Coming through from the NME tour in 1996, The Bluetones captured, and more importantly, brought something new, to the Brit pop craze sweeping the nation. They don't get the attention they once did, but like a small scale Oasis, their debut Expecting To Fly was probably their best album, the follow ups good but blighted by the success of the first. Still going, and still good, this rather fine greatest hits package signals the end of one era, and like a leathered-up Elvis in '69, will hopefully herald the start of another.
Poignant lyrics, music that wears the captain's armband of indie guitar rock as well as any other first team member, and Mark Morris' unusual but likeable vocals all come together to make a solid yet individual player.
Of the Britpop bands that aren't superstar tabloid fodder these days, The Bluetones are probably the only ones still around. Cast, Sleeper, and even (shudder) Menswear all had their fifteen, and have all gone back to the day job. The reason for this is the best one they could hope for: the songs stand the test of time. "Twee observations combined with a fine wry humour" sounds like a bit of a Guardian quote but coming at indie rock from a unique angle, The 'Tones make loveable music that that always captures the right mood.
They don't get as many NME column inches these days, but new is exciting, and The Strokes and Starsailor are enjoying their honeymoon period, hoping they can turn it into a lasting partnership with the fickle ship popularity. If songs like Slight Return, Marblehead Johnson and Solomon Bites The Worm were released today, they'd still add a touch of the refreshing to the current (and vibrant) music scene. This is a great package, four new songs including latest single After Hours continuing the successful run. There's no doubt of a first team place, let's hope they still qualify for the big competitions.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2005
The Bluetones' lack of success just goes to show how bloated and disgusting the music industry has become. This singles collection shows that The Bluetones without a doubt were the better band than either Oasis or Blur; they didn't have slick marketing, they didn't lift half their ideas from bands that had gone before, they just made honest-to-goodness-puts-a-smile-on-your-face pop music.
The witty lyrics and pop guitars, combined with Mark Morriss inimitable vocal style, make this album a joy to listen to. From opening track "Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?" you know that this is a band that you should have heard of before. In fact you probably will have; "Slight Return", "Keep The Home Fires Burning" and "Solomon Bites The Worm" will ring bells of recognition in your head. My personal favourite from this album is the sublime "Sleazy Bed Track" which manages to seem simultaneously sleazy and charming.
I went to a Bluetones gig after being nagged by a friend for ages and I was so glad I did. This is the perfect CD to just sit and work along to, but I'd also recommend their other albums. I suppose the only good thing about their lack of commercial success is that you should be able to pick up their back catalogue with relevant ease.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2002
I had heard a few Bluetones records on the radio but never bought a thing, then I saw them live at V2002 at Stafford. The Morriss brothers et al blew me away and I decided to investigate further.
This limited edition CD includes all the singles and a 'bonus' CD. The favourites have to be Bluetonic, Solomon Bites The Worm and Autophillia but each listening extracts another great lyric or hummable tune. There is also a great rendition of the Frank Sinatra classic That's Life on the second CD which makes it worth buying the limited edition CD over the standard on it's own.
All in all a terrfific representation of a band who I am increasingly coming to admire. The Manchester Happy Mondays / Stone Roses scene has produced some great bands, but the Bluetones are one of the few acts to sustain their career and off the back of this CD I will buy some more of their albums and look forward to hearing a lot more from this band in the future.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2006
For me, the Bluetones stood for all that was good about late 90's British pop music.
Yet Sadly they seemed to get squished by the Brit-Pop juggernaut and were left hitch-hiking somewhere on the hard shoulder.
Among the weapons in their arsenal: Bonkers song titles, lyrics dusted with quirk and melodies warm as toast and cuddlier than Bagpuss - And all that now on one CD!
Like an indie Ray Davies without the capital letters, Mark Morris and the boys channelled thier Kinks-like sensibilities into a sort of Parklife-era Blur/Ben and Jason hybrid.
'After Hours' is probably one of the most celebratory songs since the Wonderstuff were building up their troubles to the size of a cow. Listening to it feels like having a pillow fight with Tigger.
'The Bluetones Big Score' references the Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson film, 'Bottle Rocket' and - not content to just be a top tune - 'Solomon Bites The Worm' must boast the best use of the little wiggly things since The Human League's 'Being Boiled' urged us to stop turning them into socks.
'Bluetonic' contains more uplift than a Wonderbra. As Mr. Morris and co. rightly sing, "there's no heart you can't melt with a certain little smile". If your ears are anywhere near the vicinity at the time, expect to lose them too.
In actuality, this entire CD is a tonic. Taken several times a day it can severely reduce Reality Pop TV induced despondancy.
Mark Morris has recently made a cameo appearance in the first series of 'Little Britain' - so if this singles collection does mean curtains for the Bluetones, it's an admirable swan song.
For now though, why not take the 'Tones advice and 'Dance off your cares, Like Fred Astaire'. (Use of table is optional)
Volunteers to be Ginger Rogers form an orderly queue...