Monday, October 08, 2012

BIGkids - Never Grow Up (BIGkids Recordings)

Side projects are a funny old concept. Sometimes, they do great things, often outshining the day job: Codeine Velvet Club, The Last Shadow Puppets, Gorillaz. Other times, they pass without much noise, such as SuperHeavy. And then there’s the genuinely horrific offerings: Alex James and Betty Boo teaming up as Wigwam, anyone?

So as blue-eyed soul troubadour Mr Hudson sneaks out from under his urban credentials into candyfloss pop surroundings, it could be a recipe for disaster. But in practice, his partnership with singer Rosie Bones under the guise of BIGkids is nothing short of triumphant. Sugary and glittery and exuberant, sure, but definitely triumphant with it.

Never Grow Up is one big major key delight – traditional pop in the best possible sense, but fresh and flagrant with it. Even the more downbeat offerings fit into the overall tone – for instance, Good For You, whose simple earthiness is lifted by mischievous Tomy twiddlings. But amidst the day-glo friskiness, there’s taut, defined musicianship. Mr Hudson’s graceful tones and Rosie Bones’ rich, bluesy honk bring a real depth to proceedings.

The playful back-and-forths between the two is one of Never Grow Up’s key pleasures. But when they’re not engaging in a light-hearted lyrical duel, they’re equally as good when they form a team, purveying a genuine us-against-the-world, screw-the-rest-of-em attitude.

Never Grow Up recaptures some of the unashamed Englishness that made Mr Hudson & The Library’s debut album so effortlessly charming. His ditching of The Library and palling up with Kanye West inevitably drifted things Stateside, but he’s very much back to Blighty here, albeit with a very different tone. And as depressing as it is that Parklife and the Spice Girls now count as nostalgic references, it adds to the aforementioned Britishness whilst underlining the bouncy, light-hearted quality that makes Never Grow Up twinkle.

Business-wise, it’s probably not going to shift a squillion-odd copies. But Never Grow Up has a list of merits as long as Kanye’s rider demands. Above all else, it functions wonderfully as a good mood inducer, and displays a side to an artist most of us were completely unaware of. Possibly, even Mr Hudson himself.

1 comment:

Flo said...

Welcome back Mr Fox!

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