Lawson and the new British boy bands

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2013 - 12:00am

I saw a list once. The Greatest Boy Bands of All Time. I have now forgotten where, but I did take note of the first three names on the list. The Backstreet Boys, ‘N’Sync and New Kids On The Block (NKOTB). They missed out on the greatest of them all, though, The Beatles. Maybe who ever drew up that list or those who voted in the poll thought that although there will never be a boy band as great as the Beatles, the band and its members have totally transcended their origins and have no more need for any sort of affirmation.

The Backstreet Boys, ‘N’Sync and the NKOTB came from the ’80s and ’90s eras. So did Take That, Boyzone and Westlife from the UK. There were efforts made to keep the boy band trend moving in the later decades but those did not create the same impact. Truth to tell, it was only three years ago when One Direction came along and ignited the boy-band fever for a new batch of fans. And goody, goody, One Direction is not American but British. So are its closest rivals Lawson and The Wanted. And so is The Script, also a boy group but rockers of deeper musicality.

The group Take That is the biggest that the Brits have to show from the boy band era of 30 years ago. Not bad but not enough for the country that perfected the boy band concept. I am glad to see though, that it is making up for that lost time with the current harvest. Why although those guys do not do boy band tunes, even the big-selling folk rockers Mumford & Sons are British. So if these boys from One Direction, etc., fulfill expectations, coming generations might just look back to this period as the resurgence of the British boy band.

Hereabouts, Lawson is the boy band of the moment. This is because these lads came over to do some shows and promote their album, Chapman Square. It is made up of Andy Brown on lead vocals and guitar; Ryan Fletcher, bass and back-up vocals; Joel Peat, lead guitar and back-up vocals; and Adam Pitt, drums. All in their early 20s and quite attractive, they were music students from various parts of England who got together to form a band. It took them a few years to get their act and sound together. But once they did, everything fell into place. After opening shows for The Wanted, they easily landed a record deal and their debut album, Chapman Square, became an instant hit.

The most remarkable thing about the CD are the melodies. Mostly written by Andy, the songs are soaring anthems that combine arena rock and romantic ballads. The result is very commercial and Andy has just the right sort of voice for these big songs. Maybe because they cater mostly to teen-aged girls, the lyrics just skirt around assorted romantic sentiments. But give these guys another year or two. Their fans would also be older but then they can experiment with more matured themes.

The best cuts from Chapman Square are Standing In The Dark and Learn To Love Again. But you can really listen to the album without skipping tracks. The songs are all well-written and well-produced and most of all, easy to like. Take note that as with a lot of bands nowadays, you can take the “do-it-yourself” route with music and still make good. But it still pays to have a solid music background. Then like Lawson, you will get all the technical aspects right. Then if you are lucky you can really make it big.

The Chapman Square CD available locally is the Deluxe edition. It is made up of two discs. One is the real Chapman Square album with the singles Standing In The Dark, Learn To Love Again, When She Was Mine, Taking Over Me, Everywhere You Go, Waterfall and other songs. Then there is a bonus disc more songs and very interesting acoustic takes on When She Was Mine and Taking Over Me.

Meanwhile, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction have totally endeared themselves to fans all over the world. Harry even got to date Taylor Swift. Their new CD Take Me Home is selling big everywhere. I wish though that these boys would soon start writing their own songs. That is what The Script does and Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power just keep getting better and better. There is not one bad cut in their new very emotional CD #3. Would you believe that they sold out the Araneta Coliseum when they were here a few weeks ago.

Only time will tell if these bands are destined for greatness. For the moment though, the British boy bands are alive and doing very well.


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