Westlife Allow Us To Be Frank Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Westlife have been winning big in recent years and with this album they seem to be...

Roger Kerrison 2002

With Christmas fast approaching, Westlife return to give fans the customary stocking filler.Allow Us To Be Frank is a silky tribute to a bygone era frequented by the movers and shakers of the Las Vegas music scene.Westlife have been winning big in recent years and with this album they seem to be cashing in the chips they've acquired during their rise to mega stardom.

This is their first return since the exit of Brian McFadden to pursue a solo career/star in Sugar Puffs commercials.Whilst McFadden is attempting to launch his solo career amidst the all-too-public break-up of his marriage, the remaining members of the band have produced an album which portrays their wholesome, charming, sugar coated image.

The album will no doubt introduce a whole new generation to the music which in its heyday was the pop of modern times. Recorded with a 60-piece orchestra in the not-so-smoky lounge culture of Wembley, North London, Allow Us To Be Frank replicates the originals almost exactly;note for note, swing for swing, croon for croon.

Alas, Westlife aren't a match for the original Rat Pack.Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davies Jnr et al were charismatic playboys and serial philanderers who would raise hell in Hollywood and Vegas alike. In fact, they courted tabloid controversy, but then this was always part of their appeal. Conversely, Westlife are a marketing man's dream and owe their success more to their clean cut image.

No gambles have been taken with the selection of songs chosen, either. All the classics are in situ; "That's Life" and "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" supply the rousing big band sound, whilst "Fly Me To The Moon", "When I Fall In Love" and "Moon River" provide the more wallowing love songs.

The catchy big band swing will no doubt get Granny dancing on Christmas Day after one too many helpings of sherry trifle, but it's doubtful that this album will appeal to the band's core teenage audience. Westlife really should have stuck instead of twisting. If it's the Rat Pack you want, put your money on Frank, Dean and Sammy.

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