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The Bluetones

Some might say that at the moment popular music is dominated by a certain group going by the name of Oasis. Some others might say that Blur is a better group. Yawn. Surely we've heard this argument before and who needs it again when there's much more charm and style to be found elsewhere. The Bluetones for example. These four handsome chaps are a few singles and now an album down the road to the Hall of Fame, and let's hope they get there. Bluetonic is their second most recent single, a catchy tune that solves some of the little problems of life: 'There's no heart you can't melt with a certain little smile...' Even Mr. Blair follows their ideology. This witty ditty is actually a love song although it certainly doesn't make you cringe. Such unpretentious sentiments as 'I walk around my house and think of you with nothing on' will not touch the souls of those who would cry for you, die for you or even lie for you. It is tempting to put this song on repeat but it is followed by two excellent b-sides, Colorado Beetle and Glad To See Ya Back Again?. The affection in Colorado Beetle is reluctant to say the least, with its fairly atypical statement 'I'm gonna smash your lying head', but it is actually there: 'Colorado Beetle I fell for you'. The song seems totally straightfaced, which makes it rather funny, although presumably not if you're the subject. It has got a groovy guitar solo in the middle of it and it is easily as catchy as its a-side. The word 'irony' could be introduced for the title and lyrics of Glad To See Ya Back Again? but not in any complicated sense. It is a short song which is entirely human and recognisable in its feelings, and it shows that The Bluetones aren't in danger of exhausting their talent in one or two excellent tunes. Their latest single, Slight Return went straight into the charts at number two. It is on the radio all the time, but no-one should get sick of it. Slight Return is a happy song about not being sad, with a distinctive melody and lyrics which fit it well. It is simple in style and sentiment, an example of a perfect piece of pop music. It is followed by Don't Stand Me Down which is a bit more of a 'grower'. Slightly less cohesive than their other tunes it is nevertheless a good b-side. The lyrics once again are funny and well written. The best lines could almost be used as a pick-up: 'I know all about magic, you see I taught myself, and I've got tons of the stuff, on my bedroom shelf...' They obviously do know all about magic, and let's hope that theirs is one spell that will last a very long time indeed.


Elisabeth Quincey

Review submitted to these pages February 1996