This is a review of "568A" recorded by All Star 69ers. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2002.
It's not often you get a second bite of the cherry with a review, but after sending in the first pass demo of their album, the All Star 69ers now provide the next instalment which is the finished 10 song article. The first pass didn't overly impress and although I'm not sure what the band believe will have been achieved by a remastering (not re-writing) of the same tracks, there are some cute and some misplaced additions.
The album opens with the lyrically disappointing and dated "English Pop Star" and the uncertain "The Ballad of New Bargain Faith (Never Quite Right)" - A song based on a poem, as stated in the inlay, and never will there be as clear an example of music painfully fitted around prose. As before the outlook picks up with the best track on the album "Happy Song" and continues positively with the pleasantly lilting "She Rides". At this point it is hard to believe that tracks 1 & 2 came from the same band and then the aptly named "Hellbound" kicks in and we are reminded the 69ers still have a lot to learn, combining electro experimentalism with Boo Radleys esque pop themes to little effect. "Soap machine" returns the band to the straighter brit pop sound they seem more at home with.
The album closes with 3 live tracks, the solid, mature and melodic "Twisted" and "Open" and then the extended live version of weak opener "English Pop Star".
What is so frustrating about the All Star 69ers is that they have huge potential - tracks like "Happy Song" and "Open" show a maturity and genuine ear for song writing that many of their peers lack, however they persist with songs like "English Pop Star" and the short on ideas "Hellbound". If this were presented as a four song demo containing all studio versions of the strongest tracks then it would carry some real weight, instead this is a watered down album that all to often has me reaching for the skip button.