With the aid of Blur producer Stephen Street, Coxon steps up his game on Happiness in Magazines, dropping the cut-rate production and slack-jawed ramblings for inspired jolts of preening rock and occasional arty twists, such as the Ennio Morricone-meets-Scott Walker gloom pop of "Are You Ready?"
"No Good Time" harkens back to the irresistible schoolboys-in-disgrace bop ’n’ chug of Blur’s mid-’90s period. And unhinged paint-peelers like like "Spectacular" and "Freakin’ Out" (which sounds a lot like American power-pop progenitors the Flamin’ Groovies) are the kind of carefree melodic racket that makes you glad to be alive.
© 2005, The Philadelphia Inquirer
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