Somewhere in Britain there is a diner. A pristine seven-inch falls neatly against the jukebox needle. The guy’s shoes gleam as they begin to twist and click, the girl’s skirts twirl, casting intermittent shadows across the red and white cheques that make up the freshly mopped floor. Teenage abandon in full flight.
In 2004, only Special Needs can conjure up such images of sweet, playful, noisy fun. With one listen of second single 'Francesca', it’s obvious The ‘Needs finally have a record that is a true representation of their rip-roaring live show. The punk-spat “Yeah, Yeah!”s and “Oh Wow!”s play the perfect foil to the gushing lead vocals. With Zac Stephenson sounding at times like a youthful, lamenting crooner, the mix works to perfection. And yet this is no pastiche - it feels young, vital and satisfyingly unstable. B-sides ‘That Maddening Glare’ and ‘The Winter Gardens’ are equally full of bounding, character-fuelled melodies. And the tunes themselves - those minor chords and "Do-wops" force a cheeky wink of the eye, the drums are held fast on the off-beat, and the guitars layer everything with a dirty, grimy sheen.
Special Needs are popping to perfection and look set to leave many of their London contemporaries in ruin, because on this evidence alone they have the songs - and the speed – to flatten the competition. DiS is off to buy a Thunderbird. I’ll pick you up at eight.
8Ross Bennett's Score