The Lodger – Flashbacks (Slumberland Records)

If you’re partial to The Smiths, The Jam, Television Personalities and Orange Juice, you’d be hard pressed not to find something on Flashbacks to gush over. It starts with “Back In My Mind,” a classic British guitar-pop single which milks every last bit of excitement it can out of a simple 4/4 beat and layers of droney guitar noise. In fact the band’s ability to make the most out of their limitations is their best asset. Nobody would confuse singer Ben Siddall with Thom Yorke, but his witty lyrics and confident delivery overpower his limited vocal range. The album’s other secret weapon is co-producer Richard Formby (Spacemen 3, Telescopes…etc.) who enhances the songs with a bevy of studio effects. Whether it’s the strings on “The End Of The Affair,” the horns on the Jam-like “Have Faith In People,” or the dreamy backing vocals on the title track, a lot of attention was paid to the bells and whistles, making Flashbacks one of the most compulsively listenable releases of the young year.