Religious souvenirs in a shop near the River Jordan where John allegedly baptised Jesus
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Dictaphone Blues: Beneath the Crystal Palace (EMI)

Dictaphone Blues: Cliche
Dictaphone Blues: Beneath the Crystal Palace (EMI)

Like Marty McFly at the high school dance in Back to the Future, Ed Castelow of Dictaphone Blues has beamed himself back to crucial touchstones in pop-rock (classic Fifties chords, Beatles era choruses, Seventies power pop, American stadium rock from the Eighties) and distilled them into this shamelessly enjoyable collection which is smart enough to play spot-the-reference (Cheap Trick, Don't Fear the Reaper etc) but also stands proudly in its own right.

From an alphabet of influences (Badfinger, Beatles, Big Star and Boston for starters), Dictaphone Blues deliver songs which are as enjoyable as the Glitter Band (the echoed stomp of What Happened to Or Love?), frighteningly intense (the Oasis-cum-Indo-rock psychedelics of Spicy Fruit Loaf), as catchy as bubblegum (Friends Need Friends) and allow for Springsteen-scale lighter-waving (the seven minute Shake a Leg).

My Girl Anymore and What You Wanted You Got could have been hits in any decade since Elvis, and Dwight Twilley called to say he wants his Buddy Holly/echoplex style back (Burning Ball from Outer Space)

With widescreen production Phil Spector might admire, hooks big enough to land swordfish, half-familiar melodies, and cannoning drums behind stacked-up jangle guitars and sweeping synth-strings, this is a sheer delight and only the hardest heart won't be amused, seduced and delighted.

Doesn't sound remotely ironic, just like a splendid time was had by all . . . and it's infectious.

Like great pop-rock should be.

Want to read more about addictive and enjoyable power pop. Start here.

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