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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 15:50 GMT
All rise for Blue?
Blue are a British foursome
Blue follow the American boy band tradition
By the BBC's Michael Osborn

Another day, another boy band, and it is time to stifle those yawns.

But having just scored their second UK number one - and dethroning Westlife into the bargain - you feel duty-bound to take at least a bit of notice of this lot.

Putting the debut album All Rise to one side for a moment, British foursome Blue seem to be flogging themselves silly to escape the inescapable boy band tag.

The boys say it is all about the music, and have been quick to brush aside predictions that they are the next word in that very thing they dislike - being a lad act.

Westlife were knocked off the top spot by Blue recently
Blue distance themselves from Westlife
Let's face it, though, they cannot get away from their boy band status.

For a start, they are young men, nicely turned-out and pleasing on the eye. Are they selling truck loads of records just because of the music? It cannot be so.

This four-piece hang much on their self-styled mission statement - "performing quality songs with soulful vocals and tough grooves". Oh, that will have nothing to do with being young and good looking, then.

To be fair, this bunch have almost managed to avoid the mega-selling sentimental old tosh that seems to dog the Westlife boys.

They have produced an overall sound that is a little tighter with an edgier groove - but still in the style of a boy band.

Blue's three big singles provide instant familiarity on All Rise, with chart-topper Too Close the best of the bunch.

Instead of cutting themselves an exciting new musical furrow, they are simply British lads following the American route

Like the boys claim, their vocals are peppered with a good amount of soulfulness on this track. The poppy R&B hybrid is slick and smooth, but seems to veer more in the direction of America's boy band tradition.

To be honest, the British lads appear to be following the US route on much of their debut, with a host of very well-orchestrated tracks like Fly By and Bounce - which has more than a hint of N'Sync about it.

But for every song which the Blue boys can perform a cute little boy band dance routine, there is one which will have them melting the hearts of their young fans - while others of us feel distinctly queasy.

Current number one If You Come Back has a nifty little intro, but then treads the heavy water of the schmaltzy ballad that you have heard a million times over.


But they redeem themselves with Back To You, a pacy number which has a growling, rocky undercurrent - and is the direction they ought to steer themselves in.

Though at the end of the day, I am afraid those yawns were impossible to fight off.

Blue are right to distance themselves from the likes of Westlife. But instead of cutting themselves an exciting new musical furrow, they are simply British lads following the American route. Sorry, we have heard it all before.

And as for the great boy band debate, we have seen them come and go. These youngsters seem to have it all the moment. But there is no reason to suggest that their star won't fade and die like their numerous predecessors.

All Rise by Blue is released by Innocent Records on 26 November.

Hear a clip from All Rise
See also:

23 Nov 01 | Reviews
Blue: Your views
12 Nov 01 | Music
Westlife scoop ninth number one
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