London King's Cross Water Rats

Twang in a manner more reminiscent of The Shadows than Morricone...

There's nothing quite like a lapsed punk rocker. A few years ago Fastball were scratching their way around the Texan punk scene, but now, on the basis of one tune, they have conquered America. That tune is 'The Way', it's a Latino-coated blast of summer, and it's currently smooching with Britain, too. Deservedly so. Even if it is also totally unrepresentative.



Fastball, you see, are a touch confused. Despite an urge to stay within the fuzzy leanings of the underground, they've also had their arses branded by the cowpokes of country. 'Out Of My Head' sounds like the closing shuffle at a line dance, and they frequently - in an effort to evoke the landscape of their home - twang in a manner that's more reminiscent of The Shadows than Morricone. Doubtless they would be laughed out of Nashville.



All of which means this is rather like watching the American Dodgy, with tequila and potato mash rather than spliffs as the intoxicant of choice. They've got the bad haircuts, the sunny disposition, the chirpy trad tunefulness, and, in 'Good Old Days' and 'Sooner Or Later', the haunting melodies. True, they don't always convince with good-natured pop either, and are about to discover the fundamental truth that has stalled many a career; following the tune is far from easy. But don't book them their seat in the one-hit wonder saloon just yet.

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