Neil Leyton is about as indie as it gets: thrift store suits, floppy fringe, records released on his tiny, self-run Fading Ways label, a website that resolutely makes it clear that if you're his fan he's your mate, and sleeve notes that look as if he ran them out on the library photocopier.
This makes it all more than a little surprising that what you find inside of the Dead Fashion EP packaging is a CD masquerading as midget retro vinyl that contains about as mainstream MOR rock as you're likely to find outside of a Bryan Adams concert with REO Speedwagon supporting.
Its six tracks start off with soft rock standards Fires, Lie to Me, Of Course You Knew and Maryland, which aren't trying to change the world (I hope) but are perfectly acceptable mainstream guitar music to stave off the boredom of a long drive home. Produced by Ginger of The Wildhearts, who also lends additional guitars and the drum talents of his bandmate Stidi, the sensitive soft rock ballad Maryland in particular is filled with radio and stadium-friendly soaring riffs and catchy hooks that are difficult to get out of your head.
The final two, listed as ‘bonus' tracks, include the slower, Right Here Don't Feel So Right, produced by the Stagger Twins, and When a Ghost Flies Young, an advance taster from Leyton's upcoming self-produced album Betrayal of Self.
Any of the tracks here could easily find a more commercial home - and presumably the only reason they don't is that Leyton doesn't want them to. He seems happy enough hawking his wares around Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and if he'd rather do his own thing than sell out to a Man who would probably be more than happy to take exactly what he's offering, good luck to him.