This former buzz band have missed the boat.
Keira Burgess 2008
Four years on from their victory in Glastonbury's unsigned band competition, and now all firmly out of their teens, Welwyn Garden City's rockiest exports are back. This time they were on the main stage at Eavis' annual knees-up and sporting a second album in the form of All Or Nothing.
The record kicks off with the chart-ineligible single Girls And Boys, an American style thrash-out that frontman Billy Lunn and female sidekick Charlotte Cooper both accessorise with highly affected (and dare it be said, accented) vocals. One wonders whether the decision to make the release download only was through the fear of public disinterest – during their two years out of the spotlight, the band have been shunted aside by the likes of whippersnappers The View. Tellingly, the first single proper, Alright, failed even to make the top 40.
It seems that in their absence (partially forced upon them by Lunn's vocal nodules) this former buzz band have missed the boat. This is an album two years too late, with a distinct American emo flavour running through its core. Title track All Or Nothing sounds very much like Fall Out Boy’s Dance Dance, and the album’s vocals have Lunn sounding eerily similar to Panic At The Disco’s Brendan Urie. Ironic then, that the Las Vegas outfit ditched emo for a more British sound on their own sophomore longplayer.
There are moments of inspiration, particularly in some well-executed harmonies between former lovers Lunn and Cooper, which nod to their well-documented Britpop fandom and particularly Nu Clear Sounds-era Ash. But there is no evident sign of the contribution of super-producer Butch Vig, whose involvement in the project initially promised so much.
Final track Lost Boy does prove an unexpected and last-minute gem, with piano, strings, bass and drum somehow managing to sound beautifully tender, in what is a Sixpence None The Richer, Kiss Me-style ballad. But it's too little too late for a band who had the world at their feet, went away and returned to find the goalposts had moved.