The Lightning Seeds Dizzy Heights Epic 4866402

`Like so much of Britpop, the album languishes in the huge shadow cast by the Beatles'
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The Independent Culture
Of all the Britpop legions, Ian Broudie knows best how to apply that quintessentially English air of bewildered melancholy to clean-cut, uplifting pop tunes. That, perhaps, is the key to the success of his "Three Lions" - what should an England football anthem be if not glumly melodic and mindful of "30 years of hurt"?

In the case of Dizzy Heights, a title every bit as ironic as Jollification, that same Merseyside fatalism is applied to love and life alike; it's a sort of kitchen-sink lite - not unpleasant, but never as life-affirming as the tunes suggest. The songs are littered with "clinically sad" characters struggling manfully against the prevailing weltschmerz - it's no surprise to find that the Manics' Nicky Wire helped write the torpid "Waiting For Today to Happen", nor that Terry Hall co-authored three other tracks.

In places, it closely resembles Stephen Duffy's last album, though the writing here is less spiteful and acute: indeed, the list of cliches in "Imaginary Friends" (skateboard boutique, art deco pad, Internet, Trivial Pursuit) is as unimaginative as the Aunt Sally character it lampoons. Perhaps that is the point; if so, it's a pretty blunt point. Certainly, Broudie can do far better.

Like so much of Britpop, though, the album languishes in the huge shadow cast by The Beatles, borrowing either styles (most brazenly on "Fingers And Thumbs", whose intro mimics that of "You Can't Do That") or methods (the flimsy "Wishaway" has been buffed to an Abbey Road sheen). Art historians use the term "school of..." to denote such exercises, but a more telling commentary in this case is that, played back to back with The Rutles' Archaeology, it's hard to see the join - the gap between homage and parody has all but disappeared.

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