Plenty of Pop, Not Enough Ska
Following a stint on a reality TV show, a wedding and endless amounts of press coverage in both the tabloids and glossy gossip mags, The Ordinary Boys are finally back doing what they originally intended, making music. The only question is have they renounced the Ska influences that made them different from the other acts vying for attention or has Preston's stint in the limelight propelled them into the mainstream, leaving them destined to cater for the pre teen girls that fantasise over the lead singer and the housewives who lap up pictures of The Ordinary Boy and his new bride in the latest copy of O.K?
In short, there is no ultimate answer. How To Get Everything You Ever Wanted In Ten Easy Steps appears to flit between appeasing both camps, to prove to the old faithful following that the guys haven't changed whilst simultaneously flirting with a dash of polished pop to help retain the Big Brother posse. Doesn't seem like ten easy steps to me. What's more it doesn't help the album. On the whole How To Get ... relinquishes too much of the old Ordinary Boys charm, swapping their Clash mentality for aspirations of a chart hit which is all well and good but might not necessarily put a smile on the 'Original' fan. The singles that have been released pretty much tell the next chapter in The Ordinary Boys' story. 'Lonely At The Top' and 'Nine2Five' carry the catchy pop hook to cater for the mainstream. Sure, glimpses of early Ordinary Boys do crop up but it is few and far between. Indeed, it would appear that Preston and the boys have, whether by choice or force, chosen the path of pop, most notable in 'I Luv U', a song that would appear to have the soul purpose of making young girls go weak at the knees. That said, The Ordinary Boys do seem to have the knack for crafty a catchy tune that brandishes a pop mentality and an irresistible hook with How To Get ... throwing out one pop laced track after another. Good for the post reality TV fans, not so much for those who loved the guys before Big Brother was watching.
Scratch the surface and The Ordinary Boys are still visible, their Ska influences are still there, its just now they are cloaked in a thick shroud of polished production that is intent on vying for your attention and ramming a catchy hook down your throat. On top of this it's a little unsettling to be force fed tale after woeful tale of how celebrity is so unfulfilling, how everyone is out to get you and how life would be so much easier if they weren't in this business. Funnily enough, there is an easy solution to your problems... Being fair to the band they do add a track titled 'We've Got The Best Job Ever' that does go some way to rinse away the nasty taste left by the celebrity lifestyle bashing that crops up on the album.
For fans of Big Brother and believers in 'livin' the dream', The Ordinary Boys' latest album will undoubtedly please, packing infectious hook after infectious hook and coming with the added bonus of the inclusion of 'Boys Will Be Boys'. For those who loved The Ordinary Boys before their dalliance with T.V, they will probably appreciate the glimpses of the band they loved but may rue the day Big Brother got their claws into the four piece.