Blimey, who'da thunk it?
Fi Beckett finds some unexpected allies...

Johnny Foreigner - Our Bipolar Friends

Ooh, I like this. Brummie 3-piece, just signed their first record deal and it is so well deserved, they're fantastic! Quite hard to describe, really fast-paced drums, jangly guitar and quirky, compelling dual lead vocals; like The sundays meets Bis. In a dirty nightclub. Can't believe I haven't heard of em already! Think they have a contract which is something to do with Levi's, whether it's to supply music for their ads, i'm not sure, but i'm reliably informed that the male singer is a huge manics fan and has been known to rip up his endorsement deal jeans and proceed to scrawl their lyrics on em onstage. And if that's not rock n fuckin roll, I dunno what is. Check out their MySpace and see for yourselves.

Fantastic photo nicked from

Morrissey - That's How People Grow Up

Ah, dear old Moz. There's almost no need to actually play this cd at all, the title may as well be 'Yet another Morrissey single about how he just wants to be loved and life's so unfair'.
But since it isn't, let's give it a twirl. Starts off interestingly enough with an operatic solo, going into edgily melodic pop-rock guitars and slightly over-enthusiastic cymbals with the kind of pleading, self pitying lyrics that have been his trademark since he first took pen to paper; 'let me die before I grow up'. And this is why we love him! Because he's NEVER going to grow up, he's the eternal angsty teen, the original bedroom-bound Smiths fan. Which is a bit of a paradox cos I've always thought that he was born middle aged and is only just growing into himself, but at the same time he's still 17 and railing against the injustices of life. In fact, I'm pretty sure that there's an attic somewhere in the suburbs of Manchester containing a parallel Morrissey who's happily married with two kids and a dog. The single is released just prior to a Greatest Hits and although it's easy (and lazy) to say that they all sound the same, actually they don't. This track isn't anything like, say, 'The Last of the Famous International Playboys' and is more than able to hold its own amid the fifteen tracks that make up the album, and after more than a quarter of a century writing songs, I think he knows what he's doing. Go buy it.

The Proclaimers - New Religion/In Recognition

So, you thought The Proclaimers were that funny comedy duo from Auchtermuchty, or somewhere equally unpronouncable, who did that Comic Relief song? Me too. I've actually been sent the whole album (Life WithYou), not just the single, and the lyrics are an absolute revelation! Well, okay, not the precise lyrics, but the subject matter; 'New Religion' deals with society's obsession with Stuff, whether it be football/Star Wars/The Next Big Thing, whilst 'In recognition' slates celebs who publicly slag off the monarchy and all it stands for, but who are quite happy to accept any gongs that come their way. And the rest of the album's even better, bringing to book misogynistic gangsta rappers 'calling her a bitch, calling her a whore', governmental warmongers and the BNP.

Blimey, who'da thunk it? But, and you knew there was gonna be one, it's their sound that really prevents them from being heard by anyone other than their hardcore fans. I'm sure they must exist. They sound just like, well, just like The Proclaimers, MOR harmonised folky pop, so anyone who doesn't already like them as a band just ain't gonna take the time to listen to the album. which is a real shame cos I for one don't want em to go down in history as those Scottish, speccie twins who did that song with Peter Kay.

Eels - Essential Eels

What is it, compilation season or something? Jeez... Eels is the project of musical polymath Mark Oliver Everett, who has an everchanging line-up of collaborators on standby, so as not to let his music sound stale, I imagine. He's had accolades by the armful thrust at him so I'm sure I must be missing something cos he just don't do it for me. At all. Although I loved 'Novocaine for the Soul' back in the '90's, i'm pretty sure it snuck in under my radar for pure novelty value cos the rest of the album is just bland, samey and dull. Kinda like Maroon 5's forerunner. On prozac. And that's all I have to say about that.

Fi Beckett

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