Personnel: George Craig (vocals, guitar); Mark Hayton (guitar); Jack Sails (keyboards); James Craig (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jeremy Wheatley.
Previously a rather nondescript guitar band whose only feature distinguishable from fellow indie-landfill bands Pigeon Detectives, the Courteeners, and the Kooks was their youthful teenage presence, Yorkshire five-piece One Night Only have since become a regular fixture in the tabloids thanks to lead singer George Craig's on/off relationship with Harry Potter star Emma Watson. This unexpected high-profile status appears to have given them the shot in the arm they needed after 2008's competent but unremarkable debut, Started a Fire. Produced by Ed Butler (Suede, Pulp), its 11 tracks are still packed with the same kind of anthemic hooks they displayed on Top Ten single "Just for Tonight," but this time around their guitar-driven sound is complemented by a cavalcade of urgent electro beats, swooshing synths, and kaleidoscopic bleeps recalling the '80s new wave of Duran Duran and a-ha. Lead single "Say You Don't Want It," whose charming Lady & the Tramp-themed promo video features the aforementioned Watson, is a gloriously infectious opening track whose whispered verses echo the lushness of early Pet Shop Boys and gigantic chorus the stadium-sized decadence of the Killers' Hot Fuss. It's a sound they continue to perfect on the driving "All I Want," which features an unashamedly corny hair metal guitar solo; "Forget My Name," which owes more than a nod to Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"; and the Calvin Harris-meets-U2 vibes of "Feeling Fine." Elsewhere, the chugging bass-led "Chemistry" could have been lifted from a Brat Pack movie soundtrack; the spacious drums and ice-cool synths on the album's only ballad, "Never Be the Same," are reminiscent of Ultravox's new romantic epic "Vienna"; and "Anything" is a groove-laden anthem featuring some wondrous Bootsy Collins-style squelchy funk chords. Of course, pilfering the glossy pop sounds of the '80s isn't exactly the most novel idea, and there's nothing on here that hasn't already been done by the likes of the Killers, the Bravery, or, more recently, Keane. A bandwagon-jumping effort, therefore, it may be, but giving credit where it's due, One Night Only have pulled off the revivalist schtick just as convincingly as their more celebrated peers. ~ Jon O'Brien