After a hiatus lasting seven years, the Worthing indie-rockers are back with a new album, their fourth.
And it’s back to basics for original members Preston (vocals), James Gregory (bass) and Charlie ‘Chuck’ Stanley (drums) and new boy Louis Jones (ex-Spectrals) on guitar.
The band made quite an impression with their 2004 debut Over The Counter Culture, which made the Top 20, and contained some classy guitar pop in the shape of Seaside, Talk Talk and Maybe Someday.
The follow-up Brassbound, released just 10 months later, was even bigger, just missing the Top 10, and contained singalong tunes such as Boys Will Be Boys and Life Will Be The Death Of Me.
Preston then made the mistake of taking part in Celebrity Big Brother, where he met Chantelle Houghton, who he left his girlfriend for, married, and divorced in little more than a year.
Album No 3, rather than cashing in on the success of his reality TV fame, was to prove the band’s swansong just a few months later.
Although it made the Top 20, it did poorly sales-wise, and it was little surprise when the band split in 2008.
After a failed attempt to become a solo artist (his album was shelved), Preston turned to songwriting, where, to be fair, he had some success for the likes of Olly Murs, John Newman and Example.
With his confidence restored and creative juices flowing, he felt it was time to get the band back together, and after a few well-received reunion gigs in 2011 and 2013, they began making this album.
It’s been hailed as a return to the classic Ordinary Boys sound, but it’s not as ska-influenced as their first, as glossy as their second, or as poppy as their third.
Opening track About Tonight sees Preston in confessional mood, singing “I brought this on myself, it was me and no one else” and “it’s time to make amends, I’m going to do it for my friends”.
Lead single Four Letter Word is slick, if a little sickly, while I’m Leaving You (And I’m Taking You With Me) is the standout track, and could have been an outtake from their first album, it’s that spiky.
Cruel wastes some great guitar riffs on a fairly soppy love song, while Panic Attack is a straightforward indie-rock singalong which will go down a storm live.
Things tail off a bit towards the end, but overall this is a far better album than I thought The Ordinary Boys could have made a decade on from their heyday. 6/10. GW