This is a review of "This Could Happen" recorded by The Bilderberg Group. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2002.
The Bilderberg Group is the shop front for a one Lewis Sleeman who pulls no punches in making it a place to sell his own brand of pop product. But this is no budget throw away store, this is quality labels, Harrods food hall, M&S knickers (cough or so I'm told).
The biggest test I (personally) apply to any CD I review, above the quality of lyrics, musicianship and songwriting is whether, after a couple of listens, I can remember the actual songs and don't just have a murky sensation of the bands overall sound. As a songwriter myself I know how hard it is to step out of yourself and ask "is this memorable?". All too often you can believe it is the catchiest thing ever, but you forget the reason you remember it is because you've heard it 200 times in the writing process. This is why I am rapidly growing to dislike TBG as every time I put this CD on I am tapping my foot and bobbing my head, when I turn it off I am humming the chorus to title track "This could happen" and quite plainly it isn't fair that they can send me such a quality set of songs. Boo hoo!
I could mention new bands such as The Beta Band, The Mull historical Society, Beck, and Stereolab or bands of bygone eras such as The Beatles, The Bonzo Dog Band and even Frank Zappa, but I wouldn't be close in pinning down TBG's sound. Although primarily guitar driven, the band manage to try their hand at a number of other instruments which all add to the charming mix in their songs. The acoustic guitar picking vs. the Hammond organ on track 2 "It's only time y'know", the electric guitar sliding vs. the electronica backing of instrumental closer "Ooay La Metro", and the genius simplicity of the chanted chorus on opener "This could happen". It all adds up to one very talented outfit who are very much in control of their art.
Despite all of this the biggest problem Mr. Sleeman and friends are likely to face, is finding an audience. What makes this such a refreshing listen is there is so little else like it around, which unfortunately for them is a bad thing. We all know radio stations, TV channels and the vast majority of the record buying public are pigeon holing trend followers meaning this is heading for the commercially outcast tag of "cult status". I really hope I am wrong and that you've just caught me on a cynical day because this is excellent stuff and it deserves to be heard. For big returns in the future make sure you place your investments with The Bilderberg Group.