One listen to this album is enough to convince even the most hardened pop watcher that, in an age where Hear’Say and Blue rule supreme, there is still hope. The next listen will convince people that Mcalmont & Butler have been away for far too long, and every listen after that – and believe me, once you have heard it once there will be many more listenings – won’t do anything other then send all the lucky people within sound range of wherever ‘Bring It Back’ is being played into a happy stupor at the sound of what is frankly a bloody good album.
‘Bring It Back_’ picks off more or less exactly where Yes left off – it’s a collection of magnificantly crafted pop songs and doesn’t pretend to be anything more. Lightweight? Yep. This album won’t radically change your lifestyle or political views, it won’t persuade you to don your glad rags and protest about anything and everything (well, assuming your at least semi normal it won’t, if you’ve ever heard a backwards message on a CD then feel free to ignore what I’ve said) but it will gently lift your mood and make the world seem like it’s maybe not such a bad place to be. Which is exactly what pop music should do.
Butler’s typical wall of sound guitars fill this album, except for on the delicate acoustic track ‘Blue’ where it is laid down for a more classical guitar sound, yet still keeps the traditional soul arrangements of the rest of the album. Mcalmont’s voice, reminiscent of Lionel Richie and the Eagles at times, perfectly highlights the classic melodies that the album is based on – not classic in the sense of being one of the best LP’s ever created, but in that they draw on the timeless formulae for their songs – the opening to ‘Falling’ is awash with Spector-esque drums. ‘Falling’ is a gorgeous bittersweet song made up with a winning combination of glorious chord changes and pleading lyrics, but even that is surpassed by the title track, an upbeat and elegantly produced number that just pleads to be the next single.
Elsewhere on the album, such as on ‘Different Strokes’, the timeless formulae can descend into Lighthouse Family and car adverts territory, but when it works, ‘Bring It Back is the stuff that pop music dreams are made of. No synthesised voices, no tacky gimmicks, just (admittedly, retro looking) pop music. Other bands who claim to be in the same genre: take note.