BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment: New Music Releases
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
CD Review: Toploader
Toploader
Toploader: Onka's Big Moka (Sony)
By the BBC's Nigel Packer

With a sound as lavish as frontman Joseph Washbourn's locks, Toploader are not the kind of band to think small.

Their debut album is chock-a-block with singalong anthems, pummelled out at a level which suggests they're already preparing for those big stadium shows.

But if the band are short on understatement, they have an abundance of decent tunes and an ace-up-the-sleeve in the shape of Washbourn.

Joseph Washbourn of Toploader
Big hair: Singer Joseph Washbourn
With his feverish singing and passionate piano-playing he makes a distinctive frontman, one part Sir Elton to two parts Jonathan Creek.

And it's a sign of his ambition as a songwriter that current single Achilles Heel is summarily dispatched inside the first three songs.

It's the kind of ambitious epic traditionally reserved for an album's big finish, but in Toploader's case it's just the sound of them warming up.

Dancing In The Moonlight, Higher State and Just About Living are among the album's brighter bursts of sunshine, and when the finale does arrive it's in the form of a bar-room blues turned psychedelic meltdown called Floating Away (In The Bath Tub).

But if the album has plenty of strengths, it's not an unqualified success. The lyrics never really match up to their sophisticated setting, and over the course of the album the band's compulsion to think big all the time begins to tell against them.

A few more reflective moments would be welcome amid all the windswept bombast, yet they seem reluctant to climb down from the mountain top for a change of view.

On the other hand if you've a head for heights and a taste for wide open spaces, Toploader are guaranteed to offer a blast of fresh air.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites