Friday, 23 March 2012

Album review: DODGY - Stand Upright In A Cool Place

Highlights: none – but no lowlights either

If I were to describe the songs on Stand Upright In A Cool Place in just three words, the words would be: long, plodding and well-written. Over the course of the first listen there were moments I felt so underwhelmed I just wanted to shut this thing off. But it was never that simple, because the songs are good: nice, slightly country-ish power pop things with the “power” element seriously underplayed.

Dodgy are the Britpop has-beens whose comeback, let’s face it, wasn’t exactly on our ‘anticipated’ list. After all, they were not particularly impressive even in their mid-90’s heyday – they were competent and even half-exciting, but their songwriting would never have gotten them through a more challenging time period. 90’s, Britain – with an ounce of talent and self-belief you could easily make it happen.

While there’s not a single song here that would knock you off your feet, you feel they put some considerable effort and working hours into this record. The breezy, America(the band, of course)-like beginning of the album’s opener, “Tripped And Fell” will indicate that this is going to be a tasteful, melodic affair. But even for all the lovely little intricacies in the arrangements, there comes a point when you just wish them to dump all their schoolboy diligence and politeness and put some rip-roaring spark into the whole thing. The trouble is, they can’t do that. The problem with all these Britpop has-beens is total lack of charisma.

However, it’s hard to be cruel to Dodgy. They clearly did all they could with their talent and their self-belief. Yes, with most of the songs exceeding the 4-minute mark, Stand Upright... will hardly satisfy anyone other than the loyal fan (and in Dodgy’s case – it has to be a really loyal one), but you can’t deny their mellow hooks or the band’s incredible dedication. For those things I’m giving this one a strong 6.


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