Madchester latecomers’ mixed-bag return

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Alfie : Crying At Teatime

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Alfie : Crying At Teatime

Poor Alfie. All this could have been theirs. Back in 2000 when Gomez and even Embrace were considered de rigeur, many hailed Alfie as the new Stone Roses. Now, on the brink of a potential Brown/Squire moneyspinner reunion, that prospect seems a bit redundant. Not to Alfie, however, who are clinging desperately to that Madchester sound. Their fourth studio album is a patchy, leaden effort, clogged up with overstated rhythms and unnecessarily busy string sections. Occasional standouts like single ‘Your Own Religion’ and almost-dreamy stoner track ‘Colours’ threaten to sparkle, but ‘Crying At Teatime’’s handful of pretty tunes are bogged down by a thick mass of droning outros. For a band named after a legendary ladies’ man, you might be forgiven for expecting something with a little more sex appeal.

Rob Porter