The Yeah You's - Looking Through You
Those of you who grew up in the 70s and ‘80s will, I’m sure, be susceptible to a smidgen of sherbet: now we’re not talking Columbian marching powder here but honest to goodness sherbet dabs, the ones with the little lollies. With me? Good. For what could be a better pick-me-up when doing your morning paper round than a sherbet dab? A real treat eh? Well, how about two sherbet dabs? A bit naughty perhaps but, hey, you can handle it right? Well, how about being force fed thirteen sickly sweet, teeth rotting bags of gum bleeding, tongue shredding sherbet? Not quite so mouth-watering now is it? Well my friends, that is the Yeah You’s experience in a nutshell. Oh they start off alright and it is all very pleasant but after half a dozen servings of note perfect pop music you want to scream and by the end you feel as though you’ve been suffocated by The Wombles. This is not an album as I understand them, this is a collection of exemplars; of textbook variations on the perfect pop song. It really should come with a health warning, or at the very least a commemorative sickbag.
Taken in isolation, a fleeting encounter on the radio perhaps, and each song is perfectly adorable; following a straightforward formula of Justin Hawkins hysteria emerging from layer upon layer of ELO soft sheen production. A couple of tracks flounce away in pink taffeta for the full-on camp Mika approach while others opt for a more sedate Robbie Williams croon, but each and every one of them is a solid gold pop classic which could have sat atop the UK pop charts at any time between 1974 and 2009. A track every month for a year you could have coped with, but thirteen in under an hour is beyond the boundaries of human endurance. The combined effect is to create a state of agitated nervous tension, such that even the misplaced apostrophe in the band name begins to gnaw away at the soul.
It starts off so well too with 15 Minutes making use of Warhol’s famous quote about everyone having 15 minutes of fame to make some entertaining points about the current celebrity culture pervading the UK. Recent single Getting Up With You contrives to make an epic rock opera about the most mundane of subjects and Won’t Be Long drops in a ska bassline to underpin a song about those times when you are away from home and everything you do just serves to remind you about the person you’ve left behind. It is all so bombastic though that already, less than halfway into the album, arteries are starting to clog up dramatically and it is the apparently unassuming ballad It’s Happening To Me which induces the cardiac arrest when the tender mood is broken by a chorus which threatens to outdo Bohemian Rhapsody for OTT histrionics. It’s just all too much to bear and not even some ostensibly great tunes like Dive In can temp me back into the water. Some wonderful potential hit singles here but it is ultimately a case of too much of a good thing from the Yeah You’s.