If anything, the Bluetones' debut album, Expecting to Fly, is too accomplished. Like their idols, the Stone Roses, the band has made a first album that is assured, low-key, and subtly charming. Unlike the Roses, they haven't made a consistently engaging album, but that isn't a major flaw, given the abundant hooks and melodies on Expecting to Fly. Lacking the dance inclinations of the Stone Roses, the band instead concentrates on perfectly crafted guitar pop songs, occasionally stretching out into long jams, like the opening "Talking to Clarry," which is too close to "Breaking into Heaven" for comfort. Nevertheless, when the Bluetones kick into a small, hook-laden song like the chiming, infectious "Bluetonic," they are at their peak. Most of the album has gems like "Bluetonic," whether it's the wonderful "Slight Return" or the liquid riffs of "Things Change," but the record could have used more sonic variety. Where their pre-album singles had several lovely acoustic numbers, there is an over-reliance on loud, fuzzy -- but certainly not heavy -- guitars that give the album an unfortunate sameness. However, that feeling begins to fade away as each of the song's melodies comes into focus with repeated listens.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine