By All Star 69ers
Deemed by the illustrious Leeds City Council as "Bright Young Things" I was quite looking forward to hearing what the Leeds Music Scene of tomorrow had to offer by the way of the All-star 69ers. Therefore it was to my great surprise upon playing this latest release to find essentially a brit-pop band in the veins of 'Country House' Blur or Sleeper, and so on - not very 'bright' is it Mr Council Selector of Bands man? The second criteria I can not argue with, as judging by the naivety of the lyrics, the All-star 69ers are definitely young and almost certainly have never 69'd a living soul!
Being brit-pop doesn't make you a bad band however, it just makes you a little out of date. The 69er's as I will affectionately refer to them, accomplish a mixture of good pop ideas, tried and tested ones and some that just don't work. The CD splits straight down the middle with 3 studio and 3 live tracks. The irony of this is that the band sound far more comfortable and polished live than they do in a rather hollow sounding studio mix.
Opener "English Pop Star" is quite obviously the bands signature tune as it's live version closes the CD and it is perhaps here I should look in reviewing it as it's studio version exposes it as the simple and lyrically painful song it is. The live version adds the atmosphere, allowing it to be pulled off with it's wealth of dynamics masking fundamental flaws. "The Ballad of New Bargain Faith" sees the band in unfamiliar softer experimental territory and is a noble but failed effort. At track 3 however things take a turn for the better with the grittier and Bluetones-esque "Happy Song" an excellent album track with the togetherness the first two tracks so badly needed. This sense of togetherness is carried through the following two live tracks "Twisted" and "Open" providing plenty of promise for the future of the 69ers, (despite the direct rip off of The Eagles "Hotel California" in the latter of the two).
The All-star 69ers are semi-bright young things, and by ditching the jokey material, updating their sound from the public-school clean-boy indie-pop and enhancing their darker moments then there will be no semi about it.