My God, Oasis, Elvis Costello and The La's all had a baby... and its name is Rialto.
The British sextet has a keen ear on the pulse of what pop music should be, and shows on their debut effort that they've learned their lessons well without blatantly copying from any of the artists named in the menage a trois above.
What sets Rialto apart immediately for me is the use of two drummers, a la the Allman Brothers Band, for increased power in the rhythm backbone. Pete Cuthbert and Anthony Christmas both attack their kits with gusto, but never try to overpower each other or the music that Rialto creates - and this, kids, is lesson one on how to do things right.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Louis Eliot sounds like a calmer version of Liam Gallagher without any of the annoying, cocky swagger. His vocal delivery is smooth and powerful, and his songwriting, for the most part, is quite enjoyable. From the opening moments of "Monday Morning," you can tell that this is a band you're going to want to pay attention to now and in the future.
Rialto's sly humor (or is that social commentary at times?) is evident on tracks like "Broken Barbie Doll" and "Milk Of Amnesia," but songs like these don't sacrifice any quality in place of the mental pictures they create. This is lesson two on how to do things right. Likewise, songs like "Dream Another Dream" and "Untouchable" all constantly maintain their pop craftsmanship while keeping the listener interested.
Unfortunately, they cannot keep such a high level of expectations going throughout the entire album; songs like "Lucky Number" and "When We're Together" tend to blend together in a happy pop mush. And maybe I'm just ignorant because I'm an American, but "Love Like Semtex" is lost on me; anyone who can provide some information on what I'm missing, comments will be happily welcomed. Still, the number of miscues on Rialto are greatly outnumbered by things the band has done right on this debut effort.
Rialto is an album that could possibly be introducing the next big name in Britpop. Here's hoping that American stations and consumers give them a chance.