The Bluetones - The Early Garage Years
Last year's eponymous album successfully reminded the world that The Bluetones were still extant, still peddling their familiar brand of melodious Britpop - albeit to a smaller and more discerning audience than the heady days of Expecting To Fly.
As the title implies, this new collection returns to the band's formative days - a period when they became every Stone Roses fan's second favourite band, resolutely flying the flag for Byrds-ian jangle as their Manc heroes crashed and burned after The Second Coming. As such, it includes at least two stone-cold classic tracks in "Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?" and "No.11 (bluetonic)" that sound as fresh as they did back in the day.
However, with at least two 'Greatest Hits'-type compilations and a BBC Sessions album already on their resume, there can't be much demand from the general public for a rarities collection such as this, especially when at least a couple of the tracks betray tape damage from years of being kept in the knicker drawer. To be honest, some of the demos represented here sound pretty much like the finished versions, so this is clearly aimed at the absolute hardcore and even then one wonders if more bands couldn't just take advantage of the new technology and offer this kind of material up for download or just let it circulate on fan-traded bootlegs.