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Commontime

Commontime

The Brewis brothers, a pair of pop nerds from Sunderland, are still in love with big riffs and blissy harmonies. The formula remains unchanged on their fourth album – another 14 majestic pop songs about humdrum everyday life, with heavy doses of 70s prog and rawwwk thrown in for good measure.

Opener 'The Noisy Days Are Over' continues where their last, Plumb, left off, with crisp, funky drumming and pulsing, front-and-centre basslines. The production is razor sharp, but of course it's all about the songcraft. In the English tradition of The Wedding Present, their lyrics are mostly observations on the minutiae of relationships. “If I can't change you / Can you try and change me?” they sing on 'I'm Glad'.

At their best, they evoke the symphonic pop of latter-era Beatles – 'The Morning is Waiting For You' is determined to be the medley from Abbey Road. The brothers have a penchant for wacky sound effects, and the bells, whistles and other aural fireworks can distract when they're overused. Occasionally, such as on the overblown 'Trouble at the Lights', they resemble the empty pomp of ELO and Queen.

They're at their best when their sound is stripped down (see the heavy, danceable groove of 'Don't You Want To Know?') and the subject matter kept intimate. “I would rather stay awake / I would rather watch you sleep / At the very least,” they sing on 'Stay Awake'. It's a fitting close to the record – sweet, with the slightest hint of sinister suburbia.