The Bluetones - The Singles
It all went downhill from when Mark Morriss made a Crispin Mills sized mistake of calling for a return to true British values. Of course in aftermath that followed it was backtracked, withdrawn and denounced as the work of a corrupt journalist. They never really truly recovered from that episode and the fact that the "After Hours" comeback single to promote this album limped in at the mid 20s last week shows just how little disregard we actually have for the Bluetones in 2002. It was a shame because despite its Chas and Dave connotations it is actually a fantastic song backed by an even better Bugsy Malone styled video.
Even more shameful is just how badly these songs have actually aged over the past seven years since the Bluetones first hit the scene. Its not so much a case of bad songs, but just really bad production. At times the early material such as "Bluetonic" and "Cut Some Rug" sound like nothing more than a collection of demo's in comparison to the high sheen polish of say "If..." or "Autophilia". Harking back to Morriss's statement its actually surprising when you hear people raving about the glory days of Britpop, when with the benefit of hindsight you realize just how many bad bands there actually were. The Bluetones were admittedly one of the better bands of the time, but its still very telling that they got their biggest hit "Slight Return" in the first week of January (notorious for having the lowest sales thoughout the whole year). However "Keep The Home Fires Burning" is still fantastic though with its brass band accompaniment and subtle flourishes of acoustic guitars. For me this is the only time the Bluetones reached their full potential in the sense that they set out to make a record rather than a live recording.
Unfortunately the band don't offer much in the hope for the future. "Freeze Dried Pop(Dumb It Up)" is nothing more than a filler with a call to arms against the likes of Pop Idols and Pop Stars. Its a lame target, but why attack politicians and corporations when you can attack S Club Juniors or Aaron Carter. I mean guys, you really got your priorities right there didn't you. "Persuasion" on the other hand is a 3 minute spiky punk pop blast which sees the guys rock out like their careers depend on it.
This album could really have been a classic has they simply took the time to re-record some of those early singles. With so many recent singles collections on the market over the last 12 months from bands which at one time the Bluetones could have classed as their peers its a shame to see that this collection falls well short of the respective Embrace, Gene and Echobelly collections. Back in the day the Bluetones meant so much and that infamous Bluetones / Supergrass tour started this writer off on a journey I'll never forget but whether the band carry on now or fade away is anyone's guess. But I'll leave that for someone who actually gives a damn.
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