The Hoosiers The Illusion of Safety Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Fashion-resistant Anglo-Swedish trio serve up more radio-friendly, feel-good pop.

Johnny Sharp 2010

The Hoosiers once coined the phrase “odd pop” to describe their sound, but the only odd thing about this second album seems to be its lack of relation to current pop trends. Instead it succeeds, like its predecessor, 2007’s The Trick to Life, thanks to straight-laced, fashion-resistant GMTV pop-rock.

In more hip-conscious hands, their songs would be smothered in Auto-Tuned electronic vocals, RnB beats and the sonic frills of the hip hop producer du jour. But The Hoosiers don’t need to try that hard. They know their genuine, unpretentious love of an air-punching pop anthem will always bubble to the surface.

So it proves with the opening tracks. Choices is an irrepressible piece of pop songcraft. Driven by a fizzy, staccato synth riff, it’s like Alphabeat never happened. Howard Jones could have come out with this in his prime, but who cares? This kind of summery, girl-meets-boy radio fodder never really dates.

Bumpy Ride sounds like it has been teleported from the same irony-free era. The synth stabs and Gillette-the-best-a-man-can-get chorus could be the soundtrack to a Hollywood action blockbuster in 1985. But in The Hoosiers’ world, it’ll always be alright on Saturday night, if you hold me tight – and if that sounds too cheesy for words, go and buy a Cribs album.

Admittedly, sometimes they sound like they’re making it up as they go along. “We’re better together,” Irwin Sparkes hollers on Made to Measure, “you and I we were meant forever / Don’t get hurt by upsetters, you and I we were made to measure. Oooooh oooooh…”

Hmmm. Yet when they attempt something a bit more critically correct, it’s a little too studied to convince. Devil’s in the Details incorporates the kind of unorthodox arrangements beloved of broadsheet rock writers and Thom Yorke, in the shape of skittering beats, plaintive vocals and something resembling a glockenspiel. But apologising for being pop doesn’t really suit them.

Thankfully, they rarely bother. The Scissor Sisters strut of Giddy Up plunges us straight back into woah-oh arena pop territory where, once again, resistance is futile. And when you’ve got so many hits waiting to happen, ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

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