Perhaps I am just getting old but, surely in any decent society there has to be a place for a band like The Bluetones. They are soldiering on against the vagaries of fashion involved in the basic, but nonetheless essential task of creating whimsical indie tunes. When a band stands or falls on the quality of its melodies then there is inevitably a fine line between success and failure. Thankfully between the rousing opening and closing tracks on 'Luxembourg' The 'Tones largely keep on the right side of this precarious divide.
The album starts with the unexpected sound of synthesisers before an Ash style pop-punk guitar kicks the scuzzy electro tune into life. The next track is 'Fast Boy', which is one half of the first single to be taken from the album. It is all trademark Bluetones sing-a-long chorus over a spikier than usual guitar sound.
Mark Morriss has always had the ability to craft the occasional lyrical gem, as demonstrated on 'You're No Fun Anymore', where he muses on the consequences of the spark disappearing from S&M loving: "Zip up your face and get off the floor, because you're no fun anymore." It is accompanied by a sparkling tune and suitably sleazy guitar.
Morriss is at his best when writing about relationships. On 'Never Going Nowhere' he generates a forceful anthem to inevitable break-up: "Once charming foibles now drive me up the wall. I don't love you anymore."
The album finishes with the most dynamic track, 'Turn It Up', where the potency of the guitar mixes most successfully with typical Bluetones melodicism. It is surely already a live favourite on the bands current mammoth tour.
The group may consider 'Luxembourg' to be a new stripped down approach, but almost every band claims their latest album offers a radical departure from what has gone before. As normal there is very little truth in these bold statements. It is The Bluetones as you would expect them to be, and in an increasingly uncertain world, that is no bad thing.