Back in the febrile '60s, there was an excretory musical act called We the People, a group of fresh-faced, well-groomed young people serving up bland, unchallenging pop as a counter-weight to all that raucous rock and revolution that kids were slurping up by the bucketful. Locksley appear to be their subversive offspring. Across their self-released debut album, Don't Make Me Wait, the quintet offer up flawlessly bright and breezy pop numbers, perfect for the tween crowd, a sort-of scream-inducing Beatles circa 1964 for a new generation. In fact, "All of the Time" would have slotted neatly onto the Meet the Beatles! album with its light touches of R&B, lovely bass solo, and heart- fluttering harmonies. "My Kind of Lover" is similarly Fab Four-ish down to its ringing guitars, semi-shouted chorus, and a few "yeahs" thrown in for good measure. But "Let Me Know" takes the Liverpudlians into new territory, giving their sound a surprising punky edge. The Small Faces were punk before the term was even invented, and Locksley's exuberant "She Does" is the best song Steve Marriott never wrote or performed. Back in the day, detractors called the Faces a Rolling Stones knock-off, and that latter band's influence can be heard all over "All Over Again." But nobody could hurl that accusation at the Kinks, least of all Locksley, who pay tribute to that group on "Up the Stairs." In the '70s, for all their dinosaur slaying, the punks were still beholden to the bands of their youth, and that includes the Cure who owed their own slight debt to the Beatles, and on "The Past and the Present" Locksley repays it for them by exquisitely combining the styles of both groups. Years on, and the styles may have changed, but even modern sounding bands continue to dredge up the past, as "It Won't Be for Long" shows. And so Locksley brings the set surreptitiously full circle, from the past straight into the present. Today, '60s pop is covered in a sheen of innocence, back then it was the sound of freedom and liberation as teens flexed their muscles and discovered their own power. Locksley have instinctively grasped that truth, and their oh-so-wonderfully shiny, hook-laden pop shivers with possibilities and excitement, while quivering with just a hint of danger that rises up in tinges of punk. Incidentally, the title track, a straight out pop-punk boogie, has already garnered air time backing an advert for Payless Shoes. It's a splendid number, but sits a bit uneasily with the rest of the set. That's OK though, the tweens won't mind, they'll be too busy singing along, and so will you: for every number here, like all those '60s greats before them, is so thoroughly infectious you'll never get them out of your head. Meet Locksley, pop stars for a new generation.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene