Album Reviews

The Ordinary Boys – How To Get Everything You Ever Wanted In Ten Easy Steps

(B-Unique) UK release date: 23 October 2006

The Ordinary Boys - How To Get Everything You Ever Wanted In Ten Easy Steps Step one: “You gotta be in it to win it”. It’s this approach that’s got Samuel Preston and his gang of four Ordinary Boys further up the musical ladder than they might have expected – a sad reflection of a celebrity-obsessed climate for sure, but full marks to him for playing the game and coming out on top without losing credibility – yet.

Lonely At The Top, with the step one catchphrase, is an appropriate place to start. It’s not Preston having a celebrity tantrum, more a catchy, observational pop song with a memorable hook. As is Nine2five, a similar blueprint with its breezy acceptance of hard work boosted by Lady Sovereign‘s cameo.

Preston’s lyrics on this album make the point of musing on how his life has changed over the past year, but at no point does he lapse into self pity. We’veGot The Best Job Ever refutes that emphatically, and while Preston’s throat aches and ears are ringing, he’s quick to say he’s sure he doesn’t deserve his lot.

Crucially, the songs and their lyrics are good enough to justify the hype. The singles are the obvious start points, but punchy songs like The Great Big Rip Off, a pertinent set of observations on today’s society trends, quickly win the listener over.Dance With Me Tonight, with raucous sax and giddy bluster, is a great going out song.

It’s easy to imagine Preston serenading Chantelle with I Luv You, but it’s far from soppy – a touch of music hall and Phil Spector reverberation (he gets a name check too) but it’s nicely done, slightly whimsical in turn.

There’s a strong sense of Englishness about TheOrdinary Boys, manifested in their influences. ButPreston’s voice makes all the difference – well spoken but with a rounded lilt.

We shouldn’t forget the other three Boys of course, and though it sounds like stating the obvious,William J Brown’s guitar work is sharply delivered, while James Gregory enjoys the odd flirtation with a dubby bass line. Simon Goldring, meanwhile, is the rhythmic lynchpin, the spring in The Ordinary Boys’ step.

The only spoiling factor is the record company’s inclusion of Boys Will Be Boys as a bonus track. It’s a dubious tactic at best – this album stands on its own two feet without that sort of meddling, and confirms the boys as players in the big league.

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