This journeying Hounslow troupe must be the band closest to having played every town in the UK. Their eponymous fifth album illuminates the fact that not only are they still toe-to-toe with Gomez, but it also easy to see why they are a good draw live, with the effortless Americana shaded singing of Mark Morris, polished off by soothing backing vocals and a strolling percussion lifted accompaniment for opener 'Surrendered'. 'Back Off' is intriguing for its glance back to the first album 'Slight Return', possessing the same cutting cogency that is shrouded in tempo building percussion, adventuring guitars and steady bass beats. The most biting and worrisome lyrical side to the band comes out in 'Head On A Spike', while the instrumentals get fuzzier to punctuate this;
"I'm losing my days I'm losing my nights, it's part of the ageing process.
I'm losing my left I'm losing my right,
my memory strains to hold less, I'm losing my will I'm losing my fight."
There is an understanding of life and the variety of it that comes through in each of the ten songs, such as the slow and aching ''Fade In/Fade Out'. This is dedicated to a friend of Morris', the English Channel swimming Little Britain actor; David Walliams. It is fitting in a way because The Bluetones have surely done music's equivalent, as the bed of the industry's murky ocean is littered with the corpses of similar bands who have attempted to maintain the same momentum as the earnest Hounslow lads. The obvious penultimate number, 'The Last Song But One' embraces folk music like Zak from Emmerdale welcomes another long lost Dingle. It gives Morris the chance to be at his most wistful and calming in a vocal sense, perfectly accompanied by twining guitars. A Belle & Sebastian finale via 'Wasn't I Right About You', seals a varied and quite fresh offering, what chance of another five albums?