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Album Review

How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted in Ten Easy Steps was the third album by Brighton's the Ordinary Boys and, like its predecessors, was a mixture of indie punk circa 1980 with 1960s influences. Since the album Brassbound, Sam Preston had taken the plunge away from being an indie rock star to appear on Celebrity Big Brother, selling his soul, some might say, and what that gave the Ordinary Boys was publicity that they never would otherwise have had. Whether it was good publicity is open to debate, and a new album by the band featuring the lovable rogue that people had seen on TV was eagerly anticipated. Unfortunately, the statistics did not show any increase in the general fan base prepared to buy their albums, How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted in Ten Easy Steps failing to reach the Top Ten, as had both of the previous two albums. Listening to Preston's vocals, one is reminded of Paul Weller — which is no bad thing — and the backing band also does him proud with a tight set, especially on the track "Ballad of an Unrequited Self-Love Affair," but it ended with a silly chanted chorus over a Fun Boy Three-type backing. "Lonely at the Top" opened as if it were introducing a horror film, much in the way that the Specials' "Ghost Town" was atmospheric at the start, but once the song got underway, the menace vanished. "The Great Big Rip Off" started well but brought back memories of the Cockney Rejects or Sham 69 without the humor, and quite a few of the numbers showed an influence from the 2 Tone scene of the early '80s, ska with a very British accent, including "The Higher the Highs" and "Boys Will Be Boys." Near the end of the album they changed the pace completely with the '60s-style elevator music instrumental "Thank You and Goodnight," which at over five minutes was far too long and repetitive, but nevertheless a welcome break from the norm. The album included no fewer than four Top Ten singles, "Lonely at the Top," "Nine2Five," "Boys Will Be Boys" (which was added as an afterthought, having been reissued to become a bigger hit the second time around), and the truly awful "I Luv You," which was definitely more Heat magazine celebrity style than NME indie punk. For a taste of what this band sounded like live, listen to the penultimate track, "Who's That Boy," complete with echo, reverb, and feedback from a small nightclub.


Formed: March, 2002 in Worthing, Sussex, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Britain's the Ordinary Boys are a brash, melodic rock outfit influenced by the classic '60s mod sound of the Kinks, as well as the '80s post-punk of bands like the Jam and the Smiths. Formed in 2002 in Worthing, England, near Brighton, the group (who borrowed their name from Morrissey's song "Ordinary Boys" off his 1988 solo debut Viva Hate), originally included Sam Preston (lead vocals, guitar), William J. Brown (guitar, vocals), Charles Stanley (drums), and James Gregory (bass). Initially, the...
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How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted In Ten Easy Steps, The Ordinary Boys
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