The story goes something like this. A bandhelmed by a man named Shirley form in 1995 - Britpop's fleeting prime....

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A Week Away

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A Week Away

The story goes something like this. A bandhelmed by a man named Shirley form in 1995 – Britpop’s fleeting prime. They start their own record labelon which they release a flurry of euphoric northern soul-inflected singles and sweep the nation’s toilet venues with spirited shambolic live performances. No-one notices.

Fast forward four years. Britpop has slunk apologetically into its grave. Pulp have gone dark. Blur have gone weird. And Spearmint release their debut album – an anachronism in almost every sense.

Flooded with joyoushand-clapping dancehall optimism and simpleunpretentious pop benevolence’A Week Away’ is the sound of a band who missed their cue making a flamboyant entrance even though the play is over and the theatre long-since deserted.

Perversely a song called ‘Sweeping The Nation’ – an ode to all the talented bands who have fallen by the wayside through lack of critical support – is the album’s triumphant centrepiece. The swanky Style Council glide of the title track is nearly as goodas is the ‘Mis-Shapes’-shaped ‘We’re Going Out’and the juxtaposition of polished guitar and giddy keyboards with Shirley’s breathless kitchen sink narratives sees Spearmint through even their weakest moments with panache.

They may have been disregardedbut they’ve never become disheartened. For that if nothing else respect is long overdue.