Reviewing background: used to have my own modest fanzine entitled `She Took His Breath Away' which lasted from 1999 through to 2004, and only featured positive reviews. Loved the writing, had to fold it up due to the costs..life, eh?
Some people out there may well reply to my question "Well, of course there has been a better band! What a silly question to pose right at the start of a review..the man's an idiot!"
Okay, they are entitled to think what they like. Besides, what about taking into consideration genres? For instance, Camera Obscura can't be the best punk band from Scotland, can they? We can't compare them to the Alex Harvey Band really, or the very excellent post rockers Mogwai (the early stuff, anyway), or be able to rival the sheer pomp-gloss of Simple Minds (let's face it, who would want to?). No, quite right, but as far as indie pop/rock goes, this absolutely marvellous band really do take some beating, even if you murmur "Belle and Sebastian" at me (although I might listen to you if you sigh "The Bathers"). So, after narrowing down the genre I will now expand the territory. Let's include the whole of the UK. Now then, stick that on your ipod! (Actually, you would be much better off sticking some of their wonderful music on it..from this sheer delight of an album, and Let's Get Out Of The Country, and Biggest Bluest Hi Fi).
We kick off here with a gentle lament (okay, they are all gentle laments, except the quirky ultra superb out and out pop ones) entitled `Suspended From Class', which could have graced Gregory's Girl had the song been around at the time; that scene where Claire Grogan and Gordan Sinclair lie down and do the `hand' dancing. A timeless piece of cinematography, a timeless slice of pop music. And the rest just flows, and flows, and flows. A perky ditty about staying true (Keep It Clean), a sisterly love song (A Sister's Social Agony), with a fifties lilt that has more style than a little black dress, teenage regression (Teenager), again with a very slight fifties feel, and we still have another nine beautiful tracks to go.
These are all powerful takes on being young, of feeling that frailty when trying to keep apace of growing up, sometimes under the spotlight which is always hard to bare (no matter how small the glow is). It's good to be reminded of it all, even when, like me, it happened to you decades ago. These are just songs about life happening all around you, but done so exquisitely with a timelessness that straddles all the decades since pop music began.
And now, just arrived on the front door mat, is the new one `My Maudlin Career', which sounds as if we are dealing with twenty something memories..how much better can it get!?!