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Science And Nature

Britpop bridesmaids the Bluetones are not the sort of band to inspire any extremity of emotion. With the exception of their mystifyingly rabid fans – the Blue Army – responses to their mild-mannered guitar pop run the gamut from basically quite liking it to cannot quite be bothered with it.

But here’s the thing – although few of us are wandering around with a Bluetones-shaped hole in our lives, the Hounslow boys refuse to accept the mantle of mediocrity which keeps getting slung their way. The majority of their singles are pop gems but it takes a chance encounter with Bluetonic or Slight Return to provide a brazen reminder of how insidiously tuneful this group can be.

This could all be set to change with their third album, Science & Nature. Because the Bluetones have finally made a record which lives down to expectations. This is a drab 45 minutes in the company of a group which sounds like it is going through the motions, churning out generic, pleasant, inconsequential indie pop (is that enough faint praise to be going along with?), devoid of the killer hooks which usually lurk in a Bluetones concoction.

Zorrro [sic] fancies itself as a raffish, zesty opener with mariachi horns providing the icing on a non-existent cake. The next track, The Last of the Great Navigators, is up song creek without a tune. But just when it seems you cannot negotiate a pretty melody ever again, along comes Tiger Lily, the first (and last) sign of hope on the album.

Fiona Shepherd

Extracted from the scotsman, 12th May 2000 by Fiona Hunter