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Expecting to Fly

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Album Review

If anything, the Bluetones' debut album, Expecting to Fly, is too accomplished. Like their idols, the Stone Roses, the band has made a first album that is assured, low-key, and subtly charming. Unlike the Roses, they haven't made a consistently engaging album, but that isn't a major flaw, given the abundant hooks and melodies on Expecting to Fly. Lacking the dance inclinations of the Stone Roses, the band instead concentrates on perfectly crafted guitar pop songs, occasionally stretching out into long jams, like the opening "Talking to Clarry," which is too close to "Breaking into Heaven" for comfort. Nevertheless, when the Bluetones kick into a small, hook-laden song like the chiming, infectious "Bluetonic," they are at their peak. Most of the album has gems like "Bluetonic," whether it's the wonderful "Slight Return" or the liquid riffs of "Things Change," but the record could have used more sonic variety. Where their pre-album singles had several lovely acoustic numbers, there is an over-reliance on loud, fuzzy — but certainly not heavy — guitars that give the album an unfortunate sameness. However, that feeling begins to fade away as each of the song's melodies comes into focus with repeated listens. [The 2009 edition included a second disc made up of radio sessions recorded around the release of the album.]

Customer Reviews

A product of its time but still great

The Bluetones were another great band in a time of seemingly endless British talent and ambition. A permanent fixture in my car cassette stereo (yes I had the original 1996 version) it reminds me of pubs and friends and thinking tomorrow didn't matter. Expecting to Fly has some tunes that will have you tapping your feet on the first listen and singing along to on the twentieth - 'Things Change', 'The Fountainhead' and their hit 'A Slight Return' display the clever lyrics and accomplished musicianship of a much more experienced band. The other tracks hold together very well with a sound that is familiar but their own. The influences of the time, the Britpop new energy reworking of The Beatles legacy with the coming influences of the 'Madchester' scene are all there. In different circumstances The Bluetones had the talent to be the third player in the Blur vs Oasis media nonsense.

You didn't need to be young and in the UK during the 90's to enjoy Expecting to Fly but if you were it should have a special place in your collection.


Formed: 1994 in Hounslow, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Bluetones filled the gap that the Stone Roses left behind, providing graceful but muscular guitar pop with slightly psychedelic overtones. They appeared during the waning days of Brit-pop, which guaranteed them a considerable amount of press coverage that helped their debut album rocket to the top of the charts upon its release in early 1996. Originally called the Bottlegarden, the Bluetones formed in Hounslow, England in 1994. The group consisted of guitarist Adam Devlin, drummer Eds Chester,...
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Top Albums and Songs by The Bluetones

Expecting to Fly, The Bluetones
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