Whatever You Say ,Say Nothing
NME 6th March 1993
QUESTION : WHY are Deacon Blue so desperate? Why have they paid cred-at-a-cost producers Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne to make them sound like 'Pills'N' Thrills'-period Happy Mondays? Why has terminally irritating frontman Ricky Ross decided to start wearing stupid shades and ill-fitting rock star togs that make him look like someone in a Bono lookalike parade? Speaking of whom, why does everything about 'Whatever You Say. ., .' exude the wish to play the re-invention game a'la U2, and suddenly become fashionable? Well .. . It's probably got something to do with the way that Deacon Blue have failed to achieve the stadium-filling status for which they were once (chortle) tipped. And they must have cost Columbia a small fortune - so perhaps, just perhaps, they were frogmarched into a record company office and told by an A&R man to GET TRENDY.
Thus, 'Peace, Jobs And Freedom 'and 'Your Town' have been directed down the same dark alley where Ryder and friends made filthy-sounding tracks like 'Bob's Your Uncle'; 'Will We Be Lovers' sounds like a pasty-faced younger sibling of the flop Mondays single 'Judge Fudge'; and though there's a smattering of trad bombastic 'Blue-isms, the rest of the LP is similary infused with empty opportunism. Mark my words, the interviews to come in the wake of this album will be full of tired homilies along the lines of : "We've always wanted to sound like this, and Paul and Steve just enabled us to do it". Phooey! Oh, and one last thing. In among all the cod-baggy woolliness, the 'Blue seem to have lost the knack of writing ' silly-but-hummable pop songs like 'Real Gone Kid' and, er, 'Wages Day'. Bollocks on all counts, really - this is lucky to scrape a (3). John Harris