For a bunch who look like they are only just out of their teens, HiFlyer seem deliriously happy. Which makes Here Comes The Sunshine a bit of a bewildering listen.
Bar fellow MOR crooners Keane, it’s not often that a new, young band decide to release an album which flies right in the face of their peers. In fact HiFlyer seem to be oblivious to the fact that by releasing track after track of sun-drenched Radio 2 pop, they will instantly make themselves extremely unpopular with anyone who thinks they are cool.
On the plus side, the trendsetters are clearly not HiFlyer’s target market, so who cares about them anyway? What’s more important is whether or not they are any good. This depends on your views on bland, piano-led pointless pop. HiFlyer have managed to sound like a more sprightly, less angst ridden Keane crossed between an awful blend of eighties power ballads and sappy U2 backing tracks.
Opening track Open Up Your Heart sounds like The Corrs. No, really, and that isn’t just a slight at lead vocalist Elle – if anything, her husky eighties based ballad crooning a la Bonnie Tyler, holds the whole thing together.
When they try and go a bit crazy (maybe the wrong term) it gets even worse. What Would Happen kicks off with jazzy piano chords and howling blues electric guitar solos, only to end up like PJ Harvey without the sex, drugs or rock ‘n’ roll. In a similar way, Love Confusions sounds like Jim Corr plugged in, then got drowned out by a tsunami of major chords which completely ruin any chance of the actual message (it’s a break up song) poking up through the Prozac pop.
Occasionally HiFlyer manage to make things flow together in a second rate Fleetwood Mac or Blondie pop moment, but it’s just not enough to hold together a record that is so unbelievably vapid and uninspired. Whatever the influences may be, the plus point is that if they get another chance, they are young enough to try again. It’s either that or a life more ordinary competing in the dogfight that is the bottom of the Radio 2 play list.