When Busted announced their unlikely reunion a little over a year ago, we were all for it, if a little nervous. The trio teased us with a new acoustic version of Meet You There that tugged at our heartstrings and hinted at a new, unsurprisingly more mature sound. Then we heard their new single Coming Home, which was entirely different, and we were a little confused.
Less pop-punk and more synth-pop, Coming Home is the jumping off point for Night Driver, and with a highly repetitive chorus and fairly shit lyrics, we would say the only redeeming feature of this god-awful track is the nostalgia factor. They’re coming home, guys. Home to each other and to the fans that have been waiting over a decade for this reunion. Or something like that.
Thankfully, the titular track is much more pleasing, with strong 80s vibes thanks to liberal use of gated reverb and Charlie Simpson’s soulful vocals taking centre stage. This retro feel is prevalent throughout the album, with varying success. One of a Kind is a bizarre mishmash that sees James Bourne taking up a keytar and singing in a key that he should probably stay well away from, whilst on the other hand, lead single On What You’re On triumphs. The Daft Punk influence is strong, but the saxophone solo confirms it as a great track which will be an interesting one to see live.
By New York, the drum sound is wearing thin, and Thinking of You is little more than repetitive. The problem with this album though is that if you listen to it enough, even the weaker songs etch themselves into your brain and trick you into liking something that at first listen seemed like something a child came up with on Garageband. Incidentally, Kids with Computers is a nightmare of digitised vocals (we’re looking at you, Bourne).
Easy is the closest we get on this album to the “old” (young) Busted, stripped of the overbearing synths which are replaced with ladles of molten cheese. It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s a nostalgic turn for those of us who danced to A Present for Everyone in our bedrooms. The voices of all three members feature throughout, as in most of the songs. The only problem is, the music ventures back into boy band territory as soon as anyone but Simpson sings; his gravelly tones on songs like On What You’re On and Easy prevent them from becoming too sickly sweet.
Night Driver is enjoyable on the whole, but we have a feeling that it probably won’t convince anyone that Busted are anything other than manufactured. The songs from their heyday may have been juvenile, but at least they weren’t boring, and if anything, this album is just an excuse for them to keep touring and for us to keep delighting in singing along to crude songs about hot teachers.
Standout Tracks: Night Driver, On What You’re On
For Fans Of: 80s Dance Pop
Written by: Alice Hudson