Boo Radleys - Kingsize

Like the man hollers, you've gotta be all you can be. It's a philosophy Martin Carr has pursued since 'Lazarus' ushered in the rock experimentalism of 'Giant Steps'. Since then he's played the perky pop prince, then wrapped himself in the cloak of the eclectic pop weirdo. Now, with 'Kingsize', Mart attempts to become omnipresent. And damn near succeeds.

"I've shed my dirty old skin/Grown a brand new feelin'/I'm closer to God!" he booms through his earthly mouthpiece of Sice on 'High As Monkeys' and - lo! - there are chamber orchestras on high. "Let there be techno!" Martin bellows and - bloop! - 'Blue Room In Archway' and the single 'Free Huey' are spattered with stampeding rhino beats. "Let Sice be sexy!" he cackles and - parp-swoosh! - 'The Old Newsstand At Hamilton Square' finds The Eggman transmogrified into a baggy-eyed Bond, all David Arnold brass and dub splashes.

If 'Wake Up!' and 'C'Mon Kids' had failings, it was that they were blatant stabs at The Pop Thing and The Kook Thing respectively. On 'Kingsize', the Boos do Their Own Thing. They go Bacharach on 'Jimmy Webb Is God', Ashcroft on 'She Is Everywhere' and, er, Jimmy Webb on 'Comb Your Hair' - not through look-ma!-we're-KER-AY-ZEE! tokenism but because they bleedin' well feel like it, la.

And lo, His Almightiness Martin Carr looked down upon 'Kingsize' and he saw it was good. Another pop classic in fact. And yet, dizzying though it is, he still knows it's not all he can be...


Mark Beaumont