THE BLUETONES Expecting To Fly (Superior Quality)

This month’s (or, conceivably, last month’s, by the time you read this) flavour of the month, The Bluetones are an echt-Stone Roses for the mid-90s, in the same way that Gene are an echt-Smiths for the mid-90s. The crucial difference is, of course, that we still (just about) have a Stone Roses in the mid-90s. (Given the present state of Morrissey’s solo career Gene are excused a similar comparison).

The Bluetones peddle the sort of loose-limbed spotty white-boy funk that pretty much constituted the musical side of the first Stone Roses album, but without the undeniable air of class, suss. nous, call it what you want, that that landmark release carried with it. The vaguely guilt-riddled janglings presented here lack the kind of unifying sense of purpose that could so easily turn them from a collection of pleasant, if unmemorable, songs into something that defines an era; they sound frail and undernourished, propped up by touches such as the Fairporty folksy janglings in the closing pages of the rambling "Talking To Clarry" or the gimmicky vinyl-like surface noise between tracks five and six. (Why not buy the record and experience the real thing?!)

To their credit they do have one good single in the pretty groovy "Slight Return", which might almost’ve made it as a Stone Roses b-side seven years ago, and "Putting Out Fires" is a touching tale of the end of a relationship. But for the most part they sum it up themselves with the line "I’m taking from everything to see what I can use". How about being really honest and renaming their record label Inferior Copy?