The Zutons are, you'll be relieved to know, on fine form.
Chris Jones 2008
Two years after Tired Of Hanging Around, the album that made them a family name (or at least the album that contained their hit Valerie, which, when covered by you-know-who, paid off their mortgages), the Zutons return in a bullish mood. Again. You Can Do Anything seems to continue where the previous album left off. Their initially cuddly exterior, soon gives way to some very urban paranoia and angst.
Hidden amongst the retro riffs, horn squawks and lustily sung choruses are tales of scroungers (Family Of Leeches) infidelity (Dirty Rat), intolerance (You Can Make The Four Walls Cry) and sheer bloody violence (What's Your Problem, Bumbag). Add to this the tales of rent boys (Freak) and you soon cotton on that this is not a pretty picture of modern Britain that the band want you take home with you. And it's all delivered with that great yearning scouse voice of Dave McCabe that helps overcome the overwhelming kitchen-sink squalor of it all sometimes.
Musically it's definitely business as usual, and the departure of guitarist Boyan Chowdbury seems to have merely spurred them on to greater guitar madness. Always Right Behind You boasts some killer slide. Mind you, the saxophone of Abi Harding still seems a little too basic at times. More and more you suspect she's there for the wrong reasons. She may provide contextual eye candy for male fans, but sometimes the little musical texture that she does add is frankly negligible.
But no matter. The Zutons are, you'll be relieved to know, on fine form. And maybe this time around they can keep the big hitters for themselves.