Hull Adelphi

...And here's the recipe. Take five blokes from Norwich, add the kind of [B]Bowie[/B]-esque vocals that make [B]Brett Anderson[/B] sound like [B]Brett Anderson[/B], chuck in [B]Blur[/B]'s arch pop

Close your eyes and cast your mind back to a time when the T-shirts were tight, the footwear Adidas and people actually gave a flying one about Louise Wener‘s politics. This is the world of [a]Fleece[/a]where they’re currently cooking up a veritable Britpop casserole.

…And here’s the recipe. Take five blokes from Norwich, add the kind of Bowie-esque vocals that make Brett Anderson sound like Brett Anderson, chuck in Blur‘s arch pop swagger and serve five years too late. Unsurprisingly, it tastes a touch ‘off’.

The fact that the influences are so blatantly worn wouldn’t be such a problem if the songs were any good. But these aren’t so much songs as archetypes. So you get the rock ones like ‘This Is What You Get For Love’ where frontman Jim Mayor gets to stomp the stage, strangling his guitar ` la Weller. Or the slow ones – see the widescreen yearning of ‘Leanne’ where they come on like a particularly morose Travis (now there’s an influence). And just to show the sheer breadth of their sonic vista they do futuristic on ‘Man From Mars’ – if your idea of ‘futuristic’ is the wibbly bits from ‘Space Oddity’. [a]Fleece[/a]may be only two years and four singles old but they sound wearily like a past that was second-hand first time around.

So open your eyes – it’s 1999 again. Now that’s better.