Bluetones - A New Athens

by Paul Downey Rating:9 Release Date:2010-05-31

Well, who would have thought - The Bluetones one of the minor survivors of the Britpop era come up with a career defining high with their sixth studio effort, A New Athens. The problem with Bluetones songs in the past has been that while being instantly catchy, they have become instantly forgettable afterwards. This is not the case here.

Uplifting choruses are the order of the day on 'Culling Song' and 'Carry Me Home', which rank as some of the band's finest work. On 'Carry...' the lyrics are almost biographical as Morriss' sings of "being too old" and "not being so bright" and getting the "attention that I crave". It is almost a quick summary of their career at this point, but with songs like this the adulation could be on the horizon.

'Firefly' and 'A New Athens' are uptempo affairs employing some great licks, which coupled with Morriss' easy-going vocals make for a fine cocktail of indie pop. 'Golden Soul' is an acoustic affair which slows things down, and seems made for a festival stage and appropriate lighter waving. 'In The Red' is lyrically clever and again carries an easy-on-the-ears chorus which makes for a fine listen. 'Haunted By You' is straight out of The Smiths' songbook, as its jangly pop verve is underlied by darker lyrics.

The only disappointment here is 'Half the Size of Nothing', which sees the band hark back to weaker days gone by with some bland lyrics a certain Noel Gallagher would have been proud of many moons ago. Looking at the big picture, though, A New Athens is a triumph for a band long disgarded as part of a 'scene' which died long ago, who have shown a freshness and creative renaissance many thought they never had.

So what next? A career best from Shed Seven? Watch this space..

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