Album Review: Just For You

justforyouby John Lau

As the Guys sing at the end of their first piece on this 5-track EP, ‘Life Is A Mystery’, but one thing I do know and can say with confidence now is that The Other Guys’ most recent offering to the public, their Valentine’s Day release entitled Just For You, is a typically good offering from the most prominent male a cappella group in Scotland, and I am sure that they are still basking in the attention that they attract in St Andrews and wider afield on the back of it. It will undoubtedly be a springboard into their summer plans for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which I will be covering in more detail later this week.

This particular EP is a good present to give to the woman in your life, with tracks such as their Valentine’s Day single I Only Bought You Flowers Because I Love You So, their YouTube smash hit St Andrews Girls and three other classic numbers, ranging from the romantic Baby I’m Yours to the sleazy Ladies Choice from Hairspray.

The actual group takes a vocal back seat for the first track and let their close friend and songwriter Oscar Foxley dominate the solo for Flowers, the token original number on this album, written by Foxley, and the song establishes the fresh and crisp vocal ability that Oscar Foxley is capable of. The song is suitably twee and cutesy, and the closing section with the choral blend plays to their strengths as well as demonstrates the vocal variety the boys have.

The next piece, Ladies Choice almost reminds me of something that Wham could have produced in the 80s, because of the boombastic quality to the piece. While the arrangement was fairly faithful to the original and maintained the upbeat, energetic flavour, the boys made good use of imitating instruments throughout the number, and departing Musical Director Matthew Pattie took on the solo with Zac Efron-esque pizzazz.

The middle track, a rendition of Uptown Girl arranged by Ted Haxby featured a dual solo from Andrew Pattie and Mark Gregory. Sadly, this was the most disappointing of the five pieces, as there was something missing in this rendition compared to other recent covers of the track, including the Westlife hit and the more recent a cappella cover from Out of the Blue on their 2011 album Rush. There was a couple of moments when the boys seemed to get lazy, and this led to moments of almost dead space within the track, but thankfully this was probably the lowest point of my listening experience on this album. It’s a shame that on a five track album the boys were unable to produce five tracks of real quality – this seems to have been a bit of a filler.

The boys burst back into life with their signature piece, St Andrews Girls, which was carried off fervently, seamlessly transitioning between the different mash-up parts of Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Katy Perry’s California Gurlz, rap included, One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful and even the Chariots of Fire (or should that be Chariots of Fife?) theme tune to close. Listening to this rendition again made my day listening, as I was reminded me of the fun-loving nature of the group’s antics on the stage when they perform this piece live, and of course of the video that accompanied the piece back in May of last year. The brothers Pattie ought to be commended for the work that they contributed to this piece, as they not only teamed up with Richard Phillips to arrange and interweave the different tracks together into this crowd favourite, but also took the lead solo duties in the actual piece.

The highlight of the album was followed by something a little confusing. The intro to Baby I’m Yours somehow reminded me of frogs legs plodding along with a harmonic sounding background, and I found myself wondering where on earth the song was headed. Thankfully, this did not last long as the dulcet tones of the competent soloist Ted Haxby took over. As the piece continued, I began to sink into a lull that transported me into a jazz lounge from way back when, the song bringing a laid back, chilled quality to proceedings which worked well in contrast to the previous four upbeat numbers. It was a pleasing and soothing close to the album.

In summary, a very good, polished offer from The Other Guys, one which we have come to expect since their partnership with Overboard and Diovoce on editing, mixing and mastering duties. This was perhaps not as strong as their Christmas effort, but the light-hearted nature of the release was parodied throughout the album and it makes a solid gift for any time of the year. An Other Guy is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day.

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