Bigmouth boyband. Directionless debut...
After their little ‘media’ difficulty, Blue’s
chart-topping success seems largely irrelevant. Ever since
band member Lee Ryan told a newspaper, “Who gives a fuck about New York when
elephants are being killed?”, the ‘controversial’ Blue have been treated like a teen-friendly branch of international terrorism.
Whatever the concerns for elephants and whales, though, wildlife issues are not addressed on this remarkably inoffensive debut. Which is probably for the best, because it does allow Blue’s undoubted pop talent to shine. The problem is that no-one has decided what the band should actually do.
On the Stargate-produced ‘All Rise’, it’s robo-R&B meets pop; squelchy soul with cute boys on ‘Too Close’ and funk and harmonies on ‘This Temptation’. All of these are fine, but so as not to alienate a single teenage girl, there’s also the traditional boyband slop; ‘If You Come Back’ (which sounds strangely like Take That’s ‘Back For Good’), the ballads (the gruelling ‘Long Time’ is aptly titled) and various Backstreet Boys rip-offs.
But at least Stargate know what they do (huge pop symphonies). And Blue are young and talented enough to secure themselves a successful pop career. Except, perhaps, in New York.