Album Reviews

Boo Radleys – Find The Way Out

(Sanctuary) UK release date: 4 July 2005


Is it really such a long time ago that the Boos finally dropped off of the radar? There was a time when they were seemed to be on every early morning radio show with their anthem Wake Up Boo!, and they were one of the more popular Britpop bands. Mind you, at that time, Chris Evans was still a major force on T.V. and radio, and Britpop was still popular. Ten years has flown by since the Boo Radleys hit the peak of their popularity.

This compilation sets out to prove that before Wake Up Boo! was sound tracking the coming together of cornflakes and milk, the Boos were creating some of the more interesting and inspiring music to come from a British band in quite a while.

Find The Way Out, being a chronological compilation, joins the Boos at the turn of the ’90s. A time when shoegazing was very much the predominant force in British music, and Mark Gardiner was its floppy fringed poster boy. The Boos were cranking out the likes of Catweazle, and the My Bloody Valentine inspired Kaleidoscope for some time before they hit their stride and come up with their seminal album Giant Steps.

Giant Steps was lavished with great critical acclaim when it was released in 1993, and four tracks feature here. The most well known song from this period is Lazarus, and it appears in its marvelous sprawling 12″ version here. It’s stoned dub-bass line and fragile vocals put it up in the same stratosphere as Primal Scream‘s Higher Than the Sun. It was a high point in the Boo Radley’s career, in every sense of the word.

Two years later, and the Boo’s returned having refashioned themselves and made serious in-roads as a pop band. Everyone of course remembers the wide-eyed pop innocence of Wake Up Boo!. Few remember the suffix: Music For Astronauts and the technoid space jam that adds a further three minutes to what otherwise would have been perfectly normal single in the style of the Kinks. This skewed take on writing otherwise perfect pop songs can be seen on the b-sides included here. Songs such as Blues For George Michael showcase the Boo Radleys ability to pen some truly beautiful pop music only to find them stamping a little indie credibility on them. It’s nothing if not endearing.

Find The Way Out is a gentle reminder that the Boos were a great band while they were around. They wrote some of the defining tunes of the Britpop era – and while they were never punching in the same division as the likes of Oasis or Blur, it would be a tragedy if they were to be overlooked and lumped in with the likes of Shed Seven or Northern Uproar.


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