This is a review of "s/t" recorded by The Bilderberg Group. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2004.
One of Leeds most promising bands of recent years have delivered their second album in order to broaden our education. 13 lessons sumptuous in their pedigree, quoting such mighty folk as The Beatles (SGT Pepper onwards), The Velvet Underground, Belle & Sebastian and The Beta Band. Subtly and melody is key, no noisy axe ramming or pointless fret wibbling here, just layered harmonies and experimentations with vintage keyboards and tweed guitar sounds.
Previous EP size encounters with TBG has found them hook laden and concentrated packages of melodic cleverness. It's an art to expand this over an album and although the good ideas are in abundance the full satisfaction level is never quite reached.
There's plenty to enjoy with such greats as the Lou Reed style shuffle on "Above from below", the cute "The Next Song" which quite literally introduces the next track, The Coral'esque "Davy Jones' locker", The Monkees harmony filled "Good Bad" and the fantastic addition of a full gospel choir on "The Gospel According to..."
Where the formula goes slightly awry is in the occasional moments where the album slips into the background such as the heel dragging "Monday morning march", the indistinct "Half-hearted" and the sample filled closing pair of "The Bilderberg Group" and "For-ever in the stars" which other than one novelty play will have the listener switching off the album 2 tracks early.
Most others barely come close to this level of quality and this is worthy of anyone's pocket money, but this is not quite the masterpiece TBG have been promising with their previous outings. That's the problem with such a good track record!