The Bluetones

Hands up who remembers Mark Morriss and co? Not too many people? But play Slight Return and everyone remembers them. Even other tracks off the once-ubiquitous Expecting To Fly album bring a flicker of recognition. Often labelled ‘Brit Pop survivors’, The Bluetones have somehow staggered through 12 years and five albums since that hit in 1995 and have not overly bothered the charts. A lot of bands might have sacked it in but The Bluetones longevity has engendered a loyal but small fanbase and they now reside at Cooking Vinyl, the home of cult favourites who don’t sell too much. Not a bad place to be…

Now, some people might wonder ‘just what, exactly, were The Bluetones up to before their early hit?’ Actually, very few would ask that question and so I wonder why they have decided now is the time to issue a collection of ten demos from 1994. Some are proper studio work, others recorded in a sitting room, all dolled up again with sonic polishing tools. They have a distinctive sound and you’ll recognise it from back in the day. The songs are decent and the work of a young confident band who are playing the work they’ll probably spend longest on in their career. That said, a few of the tracks betray their homemade origins and, out of ten songs, three repeat themselves. Of the 7 different songs a couple are not their strongest. Of course the first, limited edition, single is there: ‘Slight Return’. Songs have a blue edge, a slight regret and the sort of world weariness the young specialise in.

This is the sort of release really only of interest to the band’s fans who have everything else and have moved onto live bootlegs. Otherwise get yourself the debut LP.

Ross McGibbon