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Album: Viva Brother, Famous First Words (Geffen)

Forced to change their name from Brother, when an Australian roots-rock combo consulted m'learned friends, this Slough guitar-pop combo settled on Viva Brother instead of following the example of The Charlatans UK or London Suede.

Then again, who'd want to listen to Brother Slough? Especially if they sounded as bereft of character as this quartet of brash, self-consciously bratty chancers, who are fatally mired in hackneyed Britpop mannerisms. Strident guitars and harmonies tug one's sleeve, eager for attention they don't merit, while the lyrics seem to be about nothing, mere excuses for refrains like "I said, ooh, shine it out today, throw it all away..." ("False Alarm") and the claim in "High Street Low Lives" that "Life's too short, and I'm too high, and nobody's getting out of line". Well, not on this sorry album, certainly.