You could call this the Chinese Democracy of alt-rock, if you wanted, but that comparison only goes so far, because instead of the debut album from Stagecoach being a huge let-down, it's full of nothing but the absolute best the band have to offer. You have to admire their tongue-in-cheek attitude to the whole thing; this is what they have to show for 10 years of waiting, and they call it Say Hi to the Band. There's plenty of honesty on the record as well, opener 'Work! Work! Work!' presents Stagecoach from the perspective of the band themselves: "It's no career, but it pays in memories - just simple rock and roll." It may be simple - even by the quintet's own admission - but damn, it's effective. It's got more hooks than a pirate convention, though let's be honest, if you've been following the band for long enough, you have a fair idea of what to expect.

There's enough new material to keep older fans happy, while the older stuff like 'We Got Tazers' (duly re-recorded to bring it in line with the rest of the album) and '56k Dial Up' (it's been around for a year... close enough) sounds even better in the context of an actual album. Some bands don't last five years even with an album or two, so the fact that Stagecoach are still around is laudable in itself. They've made serious progress as a band, too - songs like 'Action' provide the pop thrills that fans come to them for, but there are also a number of slow-burners on the album as well, like the huge-sounding 'First and Last' and the penultimate track 'I'm Not Your House', the latter of which combines the band's irresistibly melodic side with a cinematic bent that only groups with their confidence could pull off. They sell themselves short on the opener and then spend the rest of the record proving that they have so much more to offer.

One thing they're also rather good at is making sure that their debut offering is more than just a collection of songs. They would have hardly adopted a flippant attitude to something they'd been sitting on for years, but their debut's flow is impressive, with the piano-and-brass-flecked waltz of 'A New Hand' leading into 'Threequel's' soaring guitars and infectious, up-tempo feel with a sense of ease that suggests the album was indeed a labour of love. Things end on a contemplative note with the delicate acoustic song 'VideoShop', but even the slightly subdued finale can't hide the fact that Stagecoach have delivered a record that contains enough fun and charm over its 11 tracks that it's impossible not to fall in love with. They've always been there, but it turns out that the band we're being asked to say hi to are a much different proposition than the one we knew - on every level, they're at the top of their game. Those 10 years sure helped, eh?