Universal Island Records – 2001 – 43 minutes

Almost 5 years after they burst on to the music scene with their second album, the over-hyped and over-played 'Moseley Shoals', Birmingham band Ocean Colour Scene are refusing to go quietly. Indeed, by its very existence, this fifth offering confirms what many of us have been dreading since the heyday of Chris Evans' TV career: OCS are refusing to go at all. 'Mechanical Wonder' is simply Ocean Colour Scene paying homage to Ocean Colour Scene. How bad is that? Well, extremely bad if, like me, you believe that OCS can't even do justice to the 1960s and 70s bands they so blatantly plagiarise.

Kicking off with the single 'Up On The Down Side', the tempo is immediately set with a formulaic if acceptable slice of summer good-time rock. So far, so OCS. Unbelievably however, one song in and we've passed the high point of the album. 'In My Field' sounds like a sub-standard Who b-side, 'Give Me A Letter' could have been a Doors reject, while most of the remaining songs just blend into one big melange of mediocrity. Totally unoriginal mediocrity at that.

While it cannot be denied that practically every band pays tribute to its idols, there is also no denying that Ocean Colour Scene take the proverbial urine. Listening to 'Mechanical Wonder', it is incredible to think the Brummie mods actually had the gall to believe they could impress anybody with these songs. Then again, a certain ginger Billie fan might like it.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Up On The Downside – In My Field – Sail On My Boat – Biggest Thing – We Made It More – Give Me A Letter – Mechanical Wonder – You Are Amazing – If I Gave You My Heart – Can’t Get Back To The Baseline – Something For Me