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Album Cover Spearmint - A Week Away (hitBack)

In the meantime, the four boys in Spearmint seem content that they've finally got their message out to the masses via sporadic airplay and a publication with dwindling circulation: "This song is dedicated to some of the best bands in the country / Some of the bands we never got to hear / Bands who never got any records out / Never got played on the radio / Never got written about in the press " 'Sweeping the Nation' is a fabulous dance cruise through invisibility and failure and other stories, with charming keyboard crescendos and stirring harmonies to lift the I've-wasted-my-life mood.

For all their tinny synth beats and moments of defiance, Spearmint are comfortably bedsit-ish, with their Made in England optimism about depression. On future single 'We're Going Out', singer Shirley Lee speak-sings "I know nothing seems to excite you anymore / I know it feels like you've got nothing to look forward to / But it's okay, everybody feels like that sometimes." And everybody does. Spearmint used to perform this song on stage as a duet with the female singer from Disco Pistol, who once upon a time were an exciting, dressy guitar pop group with bouncy tunes to kill for. They never did get around to sweeping the nation, but it would have been cool if they had. Spearmint, on the other hand, haven't got the energy to do it. The sudden blasts of pace subside pretty quickly during the course of this album and are replaced by whimsical wheedling and introspection. 'A Third of My Life' is so quiet, it's easy to envision a grainy, lo-fi, Salako-like video to accompany the murmuring.

But with its la-la-la-la fade-out and "take me home and fuck me" (gently) pleading, 'A Third of My Life' is the most beautiful thing about "A Week Away". Elsewhere Spearmint sound like the Lightening Seeds with added dishwater, or the lovely Ooberman without the girl backing vocals, and therefore not as cute. Hovering between death and euphoria, Spearmint sing songs for the colour pale blue, careful not to confuse their dreams with their actual likely career trajectory. "The sampler is the biro of rock and roll, they say," quotes Shirley. Maybe it's time to start using a fountain pen.

by Laura Slattery.