Biff Bang Pow!

Oblivion

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Midway through the career of Biff Bang Pow!, future rock impresario Alan McGee finally came up with a batch of songs worthy of his '60s Brit-pop jones, and the result is the band's most consistent and charming album. The first 20 minutes in particular, with cues taken from both gentle, folky psychedelia ("She's Got Diamonds in Her Hair") and the paint-splattered mod rave-ups of the Creation ("A Girl Called Destruction," which explodes into a feedback solo), find McGee and company creating a marvelous pastiche of the swinging London sounds that inspired them. Even though McGee's vocals aren't always up to the task, with Hollies-style harmonies lifting songs like the irresistible beat throwback "There You Go Again" and "She's Got Diamonds," any shortcomings prove negligible. The songwriting discipline dissipates somewhat on side two, but not enough to undo the good impression that the handful of gems on the A-side have left. A good starting point for curious fans of McGee's later endeavors, Oblivion was, like most of the band's retro-leaning output, both behind the times and -- considering the Oasis-dominated U.K. music scene of the '90s, which McGee helped mastermind with a similar philosophy -- miles ahead of them.

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