Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lil' Chris - Lil' Chris

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Lil' Chris should by all rights rubbish. The "star" of some godforsaken reality show (Gene Simmons' Rock School) who has not long hit 16 puts out a record after unceremoniously parting with the band set up for said doesn't offer up much hope does it? Especially when one considers the album bears the hallmarks of writer/producer Ray Hedges. Sure his acts have racked up the hits over the years (Westlife, Ronan Keating, B*Witched, Emma Bunton to name but a few) but he's hardly up there with, say, Xenomania for producing any-one's idea of cutting edge 21st Century Pop. But check in your prejudices at the door and you will find a lot to enjoy here.

Yes it could be said that a lot of this album is derivative (which in a way proves my point about Hedges) but to be honest half the fun of the album is listening out for these "reference points". A little of the Buzzcocks here, some Sex Pistols over there, a dash of Elvis Costello over here....

It is fair to say though that whilst the two lead singles, Checkin It Out and Getting Enough??, were something special the rest of the album does tend to drift into "ordinary" a touch too often. Songs like Is There Anybody Out There and I've Been Had lack the manic charm of the singles and whilst they are catchy enough they are just a little too ordinary, musically, to stand out from the pack. Having said that though, the likes of Is She Ready? and Rachel (his paean to the former S-Club star, which is worth it for the mad lyrics alone) jump out of the stereo and lodge in your brain with great speed.

Yes, Lil' Chris' voice isn't the most soothing you'll ever hear, to be honest at times he sounds a LOT younger than 16, and over a prolonged period of time it does begin to grate. There is also a little too much here that seems to have been done by the numbers. But what the album lacks in the musical "merit" stakes, is more than made up for by the quality it has in the entertainment stakes. Frankly if listening to this doesn't bring a smile to your face somebody better check your pulse!

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