Rick Astley has dubbed Blossoms the new Smiths.

The 80s pop icon has been performing covers of the iconic Manchester group's hits with Tom Ogden and co on stage, and the 'Never Gonna Give You Up' hitmaker has insisted he believes the 'Honey Sweet' rockers are doing "exactly the same" as the Morrissey-led group did with their revolutionary sound in the 1980s.

According to the Daily Star newspaper's Wired column, Rick said: "The Smiths were everything.

"They just did something that was completely different and it turned me on in a major way.

"And what is amazing is that Blossoms do exactly the same and they weren't even born.

"That just goes to show The Smiths could have passed on but their music would still be here.

"Blossoms are great. They're a really, really, really good live band."

On looking up to the fellow Manchester band, Rick - who hails from just outside Manchester - continued: "It meant an awful lot to me as a kid that there was a band that came from down the road that did a thing with the same instruments other bands have been using for 20, 30 years like the Stones or The Beatles - but they did something different, they added a twist to it, and the lyrics had a twist to it."

Blossoms surprised fans by bringing out Rick to perform The Smiths' classics 'Panic' and 'This Charming Man' in London earlier this month, and they've since announced 'The Songs of The Smiths' concert series together, which will see then play Manchester’s Albert Hall on October 8 and return to the O2 Forum Kentish Town on October 9.

Not everyone is convinced though, with The Smiths' former guitarist, Johnny Marr, branding their first performance as "both funny and horrible at the same time".

The 57-year-old rocker also claimed Blossoms didn't seek his approval when he hung out with them recently.

He responded to one Twitter user: “Well, I met The Blossoms a few weeks ago and they elected to not mention it."