Wet Wet Wet

Timeless

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From 1987 until their demise a decade later, Scotland's Wet Wet Wet were one of the most successful bands in Europe. While often compared to the onslaught of boy bands that appeared in their wake, the Wets were nothing of the sort. These were four talented individuals who wrote almost all of their own material, played their own instruments, and had one of the greatest white soul vocalists in frontman Marti Pellow. So, when the band called it quits after its album 10 in 1997, the pop market lost a credible and seemingly clean-cut outfit, a group that was actually worthy of its fame. When news came out that Pellow had battled heroin addiction, it almost seemed unbelievable to their legions of fans. Thankfully, Pellow pulled through and pursued a semi-successful solo career. But as the Wets' 20th anniversary loomed, the boys in the band patched up their differences and hit the road for a hugely successful reunion tour. Then, in 2007, the band released Timeless, a brand-spanking-new album filled to the brim with all the things fans loved about the Wets: melodic soulful pop with lush production, classic arrangements, and that Pellow bellow. Timeless, released on the band's own Dry Records label, strips away the glossy production of 10 and allows Wet Wet Wet to stretch out musically and be themselves without having to rely on the latest musical trends. Perhaps their most varied album, Timeless is exactly as the title suggests: a collection of songs that are timeless soulful pop nuggets that could have been hits in any decade from the '60s to the new millennium. From Marvin Gaye to Roy Orbison via the Beatles and Elton John, the album still has its feet firmly planted in the now while embracing yesterday and tomorrow. On "Run," the Wets rock harder than usual with frenzied guitar bouncing off of their trademark lush harmonies. "Too Many People" is one of their finest soul moments to date (although the single mix removed the heart and, literally, the soul of the song). "Eyes Wide Open" and "Weightless" are beautiful without being lightweight. "In Every Heart (A Fire Burns)" channels the spirit of Roy Orbison and could have been the catalyst for another comeback for him had he lived another two decades. Only "Thru' the Night" fails to deliver anything memorable even after repeated listens. Will the boys in the band last long enough to make another album? Hopefully.

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