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A big bundle of sugary, arch indie pop, The History of Apple Pie's second long player throws the listener back to the mid-nineties, to Britpop and the simple joy of primary coloured trainers and moppish hair. Unfortunately, it carries a familiar absence of anything deeper and more meaningful than a foamy pint.

The mid-nineties are memorable for a lot of different reasons - for UK music fans in particular, there was a brief and stupefying moment when it seemed that our little island had suddenly re-ascended the mountain to reign over the world of Pop. Those who were there to experience it the first time around might find that Feel Something revives some uncomfortable memories about the vacuum that lay at the heart of fashion, music and politics circa 1997, and of the corresponding and inevitable rise of New Labour.

By way of contrast, The History of Apple Pie's eye-catching name owes itself to the most noughties concept possible, the random Google search. Their brand of collegiate rock is, however, congenitally of the preceding decade, before we all went wireless and when Apple still made expensive desktop computers with coloured plastic casing while desperately searching for their place in the world. THOAP are very aware of their spiritual home; gawky rented accommodation next door to a terrace house painted garishly in the colours of the Union Jack. Whether they have any strong opinion about the implications of that is anyone's guess.

Tracks like 'Special Girl' have the precise mode and swing of Modern Life is Rubbish, with arch vocals over the kind of guitar that British bands seemed to mis-hear when they listened to grunge - bent, off-key riffs with a raised eyebrow poised to undermine the whole enterprise. Whereas the Americans were screeching about self-harm and shotguns, most Britpoppers seemed to find the whole thing a bit well... un-British. As a consequence, the re-packaged alternative this side of the pond split into two camps - hammy, glam throwbacks (Blur, Oasis) and cerebral handwringers (Radiohead, Mansun).

Enter Tony Blair. The painful rebirth of Cool Britannia under New Labour was envisioned as an alternative to meaningful policies; the ironing out of anything resembling controversy, the insistence on maintaining the status quo, on public image and the middle ground, rather than the terrifying alternative of a lurch back towards unpopular Lefty ideas of state intervention and industrial strife. The Manics could sing about sink estates and the death of the library; the overriding atmosphere was heralded by the reincarnated spirit of quiescent consumerist fun. New Lad and Lad-ette sings from every corner of Feel Something.

The familiarity breeds a kind of charmed stupor. Tracks like 'Puzzles' chug nicely along, lacking a strong enough voice to drive them beyond the level of pastiche, but perfectly fine for all that. If Sleeper or Elastica had been blasting these out at Reading back in the day, they would pass for acceptable album tracks. THOAP are cloaked by their influences, and very little else emerges.

Despite this, Feel Something is certainly not a disaster. Opener 'Come Undone' is a breezy slice of fuzzy pop. The standard of hook is pretty consistent for the whole album, and there's very little that could be described as filler. It's just that, considering that the whole seems like an exercise in similitude, it's not that easy to get excited about.

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