It's a heartwarming tale, this one...
"Nothing," replied the benevolent Johnson, "just come back again and we'll make a record together." Isn't that lovely?
But if only this record warmed the cockles of your heart as much as that story. Not to say it's a bad release, in fact, fans of early Spencer will be delighted to hear the return of the Blues Explosion's scuzzy roots, a million miles away from their recent output.
Johnson's also on top form and with his droll, surreal pronouncements - think railway station announcer - he adds a fresh, B-52's-esque twist to the trademark, dare we say hackneyed, Blues Explosion sound. But five tracks in and the novelty's wearing off. Rapidly.
Great party material like 'Fudgy The Whale' (apparently it's the new dance craze that sweeping Olympia) is followed by painful stabs at experimentalism like 'Frosty Junction' and 'Chicken Legs' that make you think that perhaps all involved have a little too much time on their hands.
'Sideways Soul' would make a great EP, it's just a shame all involved felt they could stretch this well-intentioned project into an album.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday