Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Bluetones 'Slight Return'

Chart Peak: 2


For some reason, it really sticks in my mind that one Monday afternoon in January 1996, a few of us trotted down into town after school, and walked into Our Price and used the listening post near the front of the store to check out some of the week's new single releases. I rejected possibilities from Northern Uproar" and Marion, I ultimately plumped for the single in the proper CD case with a picture of bee on the front:

Apart from sounding like it was a very long time ago, that description goes some way to explaining why I was unconcerned about failing to find the official promo video on YouTube (I hardly saw it at the time, surprisingly for such a big hit: it's not actually that good apart from Mark Morriss's silly little jig). In fact the only thing I dislike about this track is the extent to which it seems to have overshadowed all the band's other hits. If they're remembered at all by most people it seems to be as a sort of second-tier Britpop act, and of course the very fact that I started this sentence the way I did, despite the band still being together, seems to tell a story of its own. Perhaps it's because they struggled to replicate the level of success they had with this track, or perhaps that's recursive.

Anyway, if I squint past the albatross status of this song, enough time has now passed to remind me why I liked it so much. Not the lyrics, some of which I couldn't really make out until I bought the Singles album six years later, but the charm with which they're delivered by Mark Morriss, and the jangling twelve-strings of Adam Devlin. But there's something in this that raises this above a mere Byrds pastiche, perhaps the slight hint of mystery about it.

Also appearing on: Now 35
Available on: Expecting To Fly

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