Album: Son of Dork <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Welcome to Loserville, MERCURY
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Question: What happens when boy bands grow up? Answer: They never do, really. Such, at least, is the impression given by Welcome to Loserville, the post-Busted debut of that band's songwriter James Bourne, who seems to have swapped the homegrown teenage power-pop style of Busted for the imported teenage power-pop style of Wheatus and Blink-182. In other words, much the same thing, but with marginally more fiery guitar and a self-deprecating, "ironic" take, presumably designed to appeal to the transatlantic audience courted by the Americanised band name and album title. Bourne's songs are smarter-than-average helpings of typical teen love problems with a substantial side-order of self-reflective fretting about the pop life. The pop-star protagonist of "Eddie's Song" leaves litters of abandoned offspring in every town; the subject of "Murdered in the Mosh" is sneered at for faking an interest in Jane's Addiction and Sonic Youth; and most revealing of all, "Boyband" surveys Bourne's own career with refreshing cynicism: "I hate to break it but it's true/ Fifteen minutes, we'll be through/ And I won't have to talk to you".

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Ticket Outta Loserville', 'Eddie's Song', 'Boyband'