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Album Review: Viva Brother - Famous First Words *


So much of popular culture today offers little more than a re-run of the past, with music especially culpable. It was only a matter of time before the Britpop years of the mid-90s would be ransacked by a new generation of bands.

Stand up Viva Brother -- a fourpiece from Slough (the grim satellite town of London where David Brent and The Office gang were based) who might just be responsible for the most uninspired, downright awful British album of the year.

Famous First Words offers one pub rock anthem after the next. Their influences seem to revolve around Oasis, Blur and, ahem, Dodgy, and these desperately shallow anthems sound like composites of all three, but with none of the swagger and erudition (respectively) of the first two or the undeniable pop smarts of the latter. The results are ghastly.

The mildly catchy single Darling Buds of May shows some promise, but it sounds like the work of Lennon/McCartney when compared to some of the material here.

Fly by Night plods along like an ailing Shed Seven song, while the vaguely Oasis-like Electric Daydream is a bunch of sounds and vocals in search of a tune.

Stephen Street -- sometime Smiths and Blur producer -- is on hand here, but even he can't paper over the cracks. High Street Low Lives might aim to connect the band with a 60s golden age, but it's prosaic and dull. More Kaiser Chiefs than The Kinks.

Incidentally, this band were known as Brother until just a few weeks ago, but where forced to change their name when a similarly titled Australian band sued. That outfit apparently fuse didgeridoos and Celtic music. It sounds awful, but, after being exposed to Famous First Words, I know which Brother I'd rather listen too.

Burn it: Darling Buds of May

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