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Musical diet cola: mildly stimulating but lacking in substance...

It's one of the great mysteries of pop why people with the best record collections often make the worst music. Dreaming of Scritti Politti and Pulp, Spearmint singer Shirley Lee must have spent hours, sorry years, planning his own glorious pop career. Doubtless in front of the mirror. And here, tonight, in the company of his adoring masses, he's set to show that he truly belongs up there with the stars. Tonight, we are told, is a night we will tell our grandchildren about.



Give them their due, Spearmint seem to have all the right ingredients - The Divine Comedy's kitchen-sink drama, a languid Motown groove - so why do they merely sound like The Lightning Seeds stripped of their pop nous? Or worse, The Style Council without the cappuccino stimulation.



Delusions of grandeur in music should always be admired but, to twist an old clichi, Spearmint may be staring at the stars but they are firmly tied to the ground, not even sordid or seedy enough to sink into the gutter. Instead, they are the musical equivalent of diet cola: mildly stimulating but ultimately lacking in substance, and too much of them just makes you grind your teeth.



There is one cool moment, when Shirley is joined onstage by Disco Pistols' Manga for a feisty duet, 'We're Going Out', but this is the only cabaret tonight. Suck 'em and see, but you'll find Spearmint aren't as sharp as they'd like to believe.

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