The Hoosiers - 'Choices'
Second-album re-inventions are hard. It's fine if you're an Amy Winehouse, and you suddenly seem to develop massive focus in your music from one album to the next, but if you were any good to start off with, it's always going to be difficult to convince the people who love your atonal indie scree that you were always really into pop-reggae.
2010 has already seen two quite startling sonic shifts from artists with an already-established sonic footprint and accompanying fanbase. The most notable is Plan B, because no-one knew he could (or would want to) sing like that, and also because it has worked incredibly well. Then there's Bombay Bicycle Club, who would definitely be hailed as brave sonic adventurers if Stornoway and Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons weren't already hogging the olden-days hoedown kudos.
The thing with the Hoosiers going a bit electropop is it is in no way a betrayal of the band they were on their first album, nor is it a shameless sellout - a stab at a sound which is more commercial. I say this in the full and certain knowledge that I am not psychic, and the people in the band could well be cravenly chasing the hit sound of the nowadays with no thought of artistic worth whatsoever.
The point is, I don't really mind if they are.
(Here's the video. OK, so maybe not EVERYTHING has changed.)
I mean LISTEN TO THE THING! It's like La Roux and Metro Station had a little robot baby and it was raised by, well, the Hoosiers. It's good!
And not good in the kind of way that will cause tension in people who consider themselves to have rarified taste. Anyone who secretly quite enjoyed 'Goodbye Mr A' but could never admit it because the band clearly enjoyed their own ridiculousness - people with rarified taste hate that - will find this a lot easier to lend their support to.
This is partly because the electropop heart of the thing is slinky - people like slinky - and partly because the song is not an overly pleased-with-itself sort of a thing. It isn't DIS-pleased with itself either, I should add. A justifiable amount of pleased. And rightly so.
And that is because it is undeniably a proper song, with Irwin sounding suitably frustrated by his own inability to make his mind up in the face of too many options.
Which of us can honestly say we've never felt something similar? Some restaurants have menus like telephone directories. The chances of finding the perfect dish are dramatically reduced under such circumstances, which can be very stressful.
In summary: new Hoosiers good, cocky restaurants bad.
Kibitzers says: "Some of these bands in the UK sure know how to make catchy songs."
#1 Hits From Another Planet says: "There's a strong Buggles feeling here, which is a relatively specific sound I've been waiting to come back for a long time."
Teen Today says: "It's almost as if the Hoosiers have become very listenable overnight. Surely a sign of the apocalypse?"