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The Boo Radleys - Keep On With Falling Music Album Reviews

The Boo Radleys - Keep On With Falling Music Album Reviews
The English band’s first album in over 20 years lacks the fuel and fire to elevate it from a good Britpop record into a great Boo Radleys record.

The evolution of the Boo Radleys roughly follows the timeline of British guitar pop in the 1990s. Ichabod and I, the 1990 debut album by the Merseyside quartet, led by guitarist Martin Carr and vocalist Simon “Sice” Rowbottom, was of a piece with the overdriven, hyperspace sound of groups like Teenage Fanclub and Swervedriver. By the time the Boos announced their split following the release of 1998’s Kingsize, they had adopted cleaner, more direct melodies closer in spirit to contemporaries Blur and the Verve. The fulcrum point for this progression was 1993’s Giant Steps, a masterwork that perfectly married the band’s psychedelic introspection and eardrum assaulting volume: an album equally crucial to the canons of Britpop and shoegaze.

No matter how poppy and accessible their music was—the punchy, horn-driven 1995 single “Wake Up Boo!” landed at #9 in the UK—the Boos kept throwing volatile elements into the mix via lacerating guitar work or production techniques that borrowed from dub reggae and electronic dance music. Those radical components are nowhere to be found on Keep On With Falling, the group’s first new album in 24 years. Tellingly, it’s also their first release without Carr, their principal songwriter and chief architect who was responsible for much of the Boos’ unconventional sonics.

Carr’s absence is an important detail in this new chapter of the band’s history, and the result was glaringly obvious when the first singles from Keep On With Falling dropped last year. Both songs—“A Full Syringe and Memories of You” and “I’ve Had Enough I’m Out”—are well-constructed and catchy, led by Sice’s still-robust vocals and dashed with chirping synths and a touch of strings. But, as with much of the album, those tunes are never more than pleasantly vanilla: lovely to listen to but in need of some extra fuel and fire to help turn it from a good Britpop record into a great Boo Radleys record.

“A Full Syringe and Memories of You” is the best example of the album’s valiant but often underwhelming efforts. The song seems to have been built from the title out, with fairly standard turns of phrase about moving beyond a poisonous relationship. “I can do this/I’m no fool/This ends here,” Sice sings. The music keeps mostly to a warm midtempo sway, and its glammed up bridge is nasty but muted. It’s the kind of song that, in previous years, would have boiled and spattered, but here it merely simmers.

Surrounding this song is plenty of friction-free, nostalgia-inducing material. The lovelorn tunes “Tonight” and “Call Your Name” float by without incident, while the multi-tracked harmonies of “Keep On With Falling” and reggae interludes on “I Say a Lot of Things” hearken back to fan-favorites like “Wake Up Boo!” and Giant Steps’ “Lazarus.” In the album’s strongest moments, the Boos regain that lush middle ground where shoegaze and Britpop commingle, as on the glittery “All Along'' and the heaving “I Can’t Be What You Want Me to Be.”

The current Boos lineup deserves credit for daring to move forward under their old moniker, knowing full well that anything they made would be held up to the high standards of their previous Carr-led efforts. But if Keep On With Falling reveals anything, it’s that the band’s success in the ’90s was due to the musical chemistry of the core quartet. Sice, Brown, and drummer Rob Cieka were flexible and fluid musicians, capable of following Carr down whatever twisting pathway he was carving out of the pop landscape. Remove any component from that formula and it wouldn’t be the same. The proof of that is right here in this well-intentioned but watered down comeback.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Boo Radleys - Keep On With Falling Music Album Reviews The Boo Radleys - Keep On With Falling Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, March 21, 2022 Rating: 5

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