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Slight Return/Don't Stand Me Down
(Superior Quality)

ANOTHER YELLOW jersey for the ever-improving Bluetones, whose knack of articulating a mood of hand-wringing melancholia reaches new peaks on 'Slight Return' with the quantum-ly anti-climax line "I'm coming home/But yust for a short while!", all filtered through Mark Morriss' peculiarly tuneful whine of a vocal. Must be something to do with living in Hounslow and seeing all those planes drifting overhead every day and wondering quite where everybody's headed.

None of the quitarama overload witnessed on the recent NME Miller Genuine Draft Bratbus tour de force is in evidence, however (yet another feather-lite production) until, that is, you get to the ultra-brill B-side 'Don't Stand Me Down', which ensures them Single Of The Week status simply because it combines everything The Bluetones are best at - late-night recriminations and the never-ending quest for revenge - set against their best tune to date.

Here, for the first time, The Bluetones dare to merge such darkly contrasting emotions against a gorgeous rolling blues. "I know all about magic baby/You see I taught myself!" taunts Mark, like Merlin dressed by Marks & Spencer, before confessing "You know the things they're saying made me what I am/So say it again, say it again!", as if the more it hurts, the more he'll be back for more. If you want comparisons, think of 'Don't Stand Me Down' as their 'Elephant Stone', a shuffle off into the unknown, but it's the clearest sign to date that the more Mark Morriss exorcises the inner demons the nearer his group are gonna get to greatness. Between the devil and the deep Bluetonic sea...

Extracted from nme, 13th January 1996