In the kingdom of the bland the combat-trouser is king, [a]Dave Stewart[/a] is an acceptable role model, [B]Jamie Theakston[/B] is a style lord and [B]Tony Blair[/B] is in power. Oh, and [B]Everything

In the kingdom of the bland the combat-trouser is king, [a]Dave Stewart[/a] is an acceptable role model, Jamie Theakston is a style lord and Tony Blair is in power. Oh, and Everything But The Girl are bigger than Texas.

Good things to say about EBTG dredged from way back: formed at Hull Uni in ’82 by Tracey Thorn (ex-Marine Girls, who were cool enough for Courtney to cover one of their songs – can’t remember which one, mind) and Ben Watt (previously a solo songwriter oft compared to Tim Buckley – like, woooh); together they created a fairly distinctive electro-pop and folk credited them as being indie groovers.

But at last, some nine albums and 17 long years later, EBTG are exposed on this album as being merely [I]nice[/I] beyond bearableness.

Watt, in charge of music and production, has, according to their press release, been honing his DJing skills at “foremost authentic drum’n’bass nights” Swerve and Movement. Of course, EBTG were banging the breakbeat drum on ’96’s multiplatinum ‘Walking Wounded‘, but this fact does little, however, to prepare the listener for the diabolically banal, ersatz coffee-table, piss-weak tinniness of Watt‘s latest take on the genre.

All ten tracks sound the same. Typical (and there is only typical) is the title track; it thinks it’s dead clever but all it is is breakbeats, bleeps and synthesised claps, for God’s sake, which Watt has cut up a bit, oh, and he’s played around with her voice – making it ‘burpy’ in parts. Thorn‘s lyrics (sung in her usual bleurrrghsome doe-eyed ‘in keyness‘) are about not being able to understand your moody partner and being unable to offer emotional support – [I]”you’re like an empty cup but I can’t fill you up”[/I]. On other songs she wants more love (‘Five Fathoms‘); is concerned about not sharing personal agonies with friends (‘Low Tide Of The Night‘), or feeling lonely (‘Lullaby Of Clubland‘). It’s really nothing more than the moanings of a 30-something, glossy-reading self-help enthusiast; it’s the cult of Velcro-fastener pop marketing and should, quite simply, be gobbed at.

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