The one thing that I'm really not looking forward to in this project is writing about every track on last year's self-titled album. When I was at Stylus I put myself down to review it, sure that I would have no lack of things to write about the band (as I've hopefully demonstrated so far), but then it came out and, well, nothing. I mean, I could have talked about the band and my history with them, but trying to come up with anything interesting to say about the actual album proved futile, so I didn't bother.
Why this should be was diffcult to put a finger on, but I think I've got it now. It's not that the album is bad, at least in the way I'd normally use it, certainly. Nothing on it nearly hits the depths of "Fast Boy", nevermind some of their B-side atrocitities. It's closer to Science & Nature's uber-melodic pop sound than any of their other albums. Every single song is, well, accomplished. And there's the rub - accomplished is not a word I'd be using if this was something that I could love. They never put a foot wrong beause they never take a risk, leaving us for the first time in sequel land where everything that was great in the first place is put back in but the WHY is gone.
Perhaps it doesn't say much then that "The King Of Outer Space" is my favourite song on the album. It's a song about waiting, hopefully, for a visit from aliens, 'home-made transmitter point[ed] to the sky... blindly believing'. It's one prettily one mid-paced song among many, but I didn't really catch that until relistening, because such is its serene tone that I heard it in my head as being as much slower. And, more importantly, it's quietly clever and quietly heartwarming and just too goofy to fall into being too quietly everything and become involuntary background music.
Packed with arresting turns of phrase like 'Each day the world floats further away, all big and blue like it's bruising', it has a lot in common with "The Bluetones Big Score" in its detailed flights of fancy. While that song is all about how nice the dream is, taking a while to give us a wink and let us know that it isn't real, though, "The King Of Outer Space" is sort of the reverse. It comes straight out with 'long odds on receiving' but never gives up on a naive hope that the dreamed for events will really take place, packing a toothbrush (just in case). The minute of offbeat, bluesy guitar that closes the song leaves it as a mystery whether they really do, but hope in itself can be a beautiful thing.