EPIC Black Hole Vertigo (Revolver)
"Black Hole Vertigo" is the debut album by a British (I assume - more informative press releases, please!) guitar quartet, and it sounds almost desperate to be loved. In these pits and flats resides Radiohead's angst, Travis' lightweight melancholy, The Stone Roses' backwards guitars, Happy Mondays' baggy beats, The Verve's string quartet interludes, fleeting Kula Shaker Eastern stylings, Oasis' light-fingered way with a Lennon riff (and a Frank Zappa title, come to think of it: "Suzy Creamcheese" opens with the same magic MOR formula as "Imagine" and "Don't Look Back In Anger"), Michael Gagliano's irrepressibly cheery vocals, which sound like he sings through a permanently fixed grin (even when the words in question are "She wants me dead"), lyrics just clumsy enough to be interesting and tunes bristling with more hooks than a Velcro factory.
Unfortunately there's nothing on "Black Hole Vertigo" that's actually memorable. It sounds like the entire history of Britpop (whatever that was) has been stuffed in a blender and whisked to oblivion, until the centrifugal forces have rid the resulting lumpy gruel of the sense of time and place that made the ingredients so vital and interesting. A great deal of effort has clearly been expended on this album, but to what end? The result is an hour's worth of identikit jeans or Minidisc advert soundtracking, the kind of music that provokes a mild buzz of recognition without ever settling down to something specific.