a1 bounce back with their best single yet

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a1 : Same Old Brand New You

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a1 : Same Old Brand New You

Hilariously, the first copies of this single to arrive on our desks were actually marked ‘Same Old Brand New You – Commercial Version’. This, presumably, is to differentiate it from the version doing the rounds in Camden indie shops on limited edition 7″ vinyl in which the chorus is replaced by a 12-hour axe solo, the intro is a barely audible stream of clanking machinery and Ben’s bits are vocodered into Add N To (X)-style warblings.

Actually, there are some Add N To (X)-style warblings on this, a1’s best single to date and a tune that, on its premiere in the NME.COM office, prompted our Hip Hop Editor to lean over and say, “This sounds a bit like Abba.” And you can’t really go wrong with that, especially when the rest of the vocals are supremely cool, funky pop harmonies that make Take That’s entire output sound like Code Red (if you’re thinking “Who?”, that, you see, is precisely the point).

And while on one hand it might seem a bit lazy wheeling out American Britney producers for a single, it makes perfect sense: after whupping most British boy-bands’ asses over the past year or so, there’s no reason why a1 shouldn’t take on Backstreet Boys and *N Sync. And, quite possibly, win. Can’t wait for the Christmas release of ‘Same Old Brand New Yule’, either.

Peter Robinson