Our Town — The Greatest Hits
NME 16th April 1994

NEVER JUDGE a CD from its cover, but if you see a shipyard in black and white, be very suspicious. It is supposed to read: “We are tremendously real, gritty, and authentically Northern/Celtic honestly, not from Kent”. And what do we get when we finally get round to giving it a spin? Lots of pseudo-prole pride and aspiration songs which, if you close your eyes, are little more than decaffeinated low calorie MOR soul pop. Which isn’t to say that Deacon Blue's intentions aren’t honourable enough, its just that Ricky Ross’ sometimes stirring balladeering is swamped everywhere in anaemic horns, hollow backing vocals, over-tasteful piano. pony-tailed fretless bass and rim-shot percussion.

In fact, you’d probably find more raw emotion in a Kenny Thomas box-set. The early hits can muster a muted stadium pop charm, and even the odd good story like ‘Chocolate Girl’ or ‘Dignity’, but ever they are dulled by the competent, tired, adult, and utterly pedestrian attitude pervading this record, If this is pop music, I want my adolescence back. (4) Johnny Cigarettes