The Zodiac, Oxford
5th June 2006
It’s World Cup time again, and what a wonderful opportunity to release yet another Lightning Seeds greatest hits compilation. Since we last heard from him, sole Lightning Seed Ian Broudie has been producing The Zutons (amongst others) and released his first album under his own name two years ago, but he’s now back on the road to promote the newest compilation, showcase the album’s two new songs and celebrate the greatest football song ever, Three Lions.
Broudie is backed by a four piece band so youthful that they can hardly have been born when Pure was released in 1989, let alone when Broudie was achieving musical immortality (but no chart success) in Liverpool’s Big in Japan with Holly Johnson and Bill Drummond in the late 70s and producing the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen in the early 80s.
All the hits are present except What If?, Broudie’s sparkle belying his 47 years. Most of the tunes are ingrained in the nation’s consciousness, not least from countless uses on adverts or as backing tracks, as Life of Riley – after Broudie’s son Riley – famously was for Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month competition in the late 90s. The live performance lacks the records’ production sheen, but their guitars and keyboard still blend beautifully, especially in the swirly You Showed Me and bittersweet Sugar Coated Iceberg.
Broudie is the acceptable face of timeless, sweet yet deep pop – his Scouse voice and dour looks contrast with the memorable and catchy tunes that it’s ok for middle-aged men to like (as the demographic of the crowd tonight clearly testifies). You can find the same sort of ethic in bands like the Divine Comedy, but nobody has done the psychedelic synthpop thing in the last twenty years quite as well as the Lightning Seeds.