Brandon Books, €14.99
Before there was Westlife there was IOYOU. IO who you may ask? Well, IOYOU was a Sligo six-piece out of which boyband Westlife was eventually born. 'Karaoke No More' is the story of how those six guys who shared the same dream of success came together to form a singing group and how only three of the six would eventually end up on the road to stardom, fame and unbelievable wealth. Along the way there was anger, heartbreak and disappointment for the three other Sligo boys and the people who had shaped their raw talent and help realise their commercial potential.
Author Padraig Meehan, himself a songwriter and former member of the band Those Nervous Animals, was one of these who formed Streetwise Promotions, the management team behind IOYOU (the irony of the management's name will not be lost on those who read the book). Meehan promises to tell the full story, warts and all, of how it all began and how life took two very different roads for these people who once shared a common dream.
With a premise like this, you'd expect some explosive revelations but on that front the book definitely disappoints. Meehan does explain how Streetwise were practically shut out overnight as Shane Filan's mother, unhappy with how things were progressing for her son's band, sent a demo to Boyzone manager Louis Walsh and the rest became history. But in a way he is telling a story that's not his to tell, which is acceptable when those who are actually involved have spoken to the author about the events in question - but in this case they have not.
So 'Karaoke No More' is basically a recounting of facts, hearsay and superfluous details (that surely only Sligo residents or the kids who grew up with the IOYOU boys could find interesting) but very little substance. Yes we find out how it all began for Westlife but we don't know how the three guys who got left behind felt about what happened and we also don't know how Shane, Mark and Kian who did make it, now feel about their humble beginnings.
Meehan's account is in the third person, thus removing himself from the narrative until the epilogue where he reverts to the first person. But even here there is little evidence of any real passion. He does admit that he didn't invest as much emotion or effort into IOYOU as his other two partners or the three lads who didn't make it into Westlife and maybe this is why the feeling just isn't there. But if Meehan was the only one ready and willing to come out and tell this story right now, maybe it should not have been told just yet.