This is a review of "Magic Road EP" recorded by The Blueskins. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2003.
Ryan Spendlove is name to watch. He has a pretty face, a sharp-tongued soulful voice and the kind of snarly delivery that every generation likes to call its own. His band charge about like boy scouts with guitars and drums and they have some spluttery-spizzy arse-scratching riffs.
"Number 23" could be the girlfriend count, with a three note riff that doesn’t change from one end of the four minutes to the other. It’s rough and ready. But it is ready. The opening is the best part of the EP, fierce and memorable.
"Can’t get down" is a treblytastic rush with nyaah nyaah nyaah guitar going off like occasional firecrackers. The overall effect is a busk-till-ready from a punk band that can’t remember which song they’re supposed to be doing. Basically there’s no song, so it comes to a screeching halt after two minutes 12 seconds. Top tune on the EP for my money.
"Love my Guitar" has a horrible bass-with-gloves-on intro followed by mockpunk nonsense that mercifully leaves the room after 47 seconds.
"Ellie Meadows" sounds promisingly and clankingly loose. The tune-of-sorts could be a Squeeze out-take, with some joke percussion, acoustic guitar and more clumsy bass. It’s kind of cheerful, but the verses go round and round till it finishes with some half-hearted utility vocal tracks added to the "production".
"Lager and lime" could be anyone from any of the last 25 years, going mental in the rehearsal room a la Joe’s Garage. But in the end it’s all saved by Ryan’s totally convincing delivery of a totally meaningless shoutalong tune that will fill your heart with joy after eight pints of piss-coloured fluid. There’s a verse of nearly OK guitar solo that sticks tightly to a well-trodden path.
Taken together this is a pretty brave exposure of what the band can do - which is make a good time racket with no more musical ability than your average second on the bill local band. But someone spotted the pop icon potential of young Spendlove, and passed the band on to the industry. The rest will be history.