Is that right, 2012? Because it’s feeling a bit like 2002 again, as a record label talent scout saw the success that MoR megastars The Script were having at home and abroad and thought “Hmm… what we need to find is the next BBMak”.
So BBMak V2 we got, but fortunately for Lawson they have managed to establish the same firm footing at commercial radio that benefited The Wanted so much in their early days. From this support they’ve quietly amassed an enviable trio of top 10 hits, and a top 5 debut album, “Chapman Square”.
While I haven’t had a chance to listen to “Chapman Square” – no doubt a place of some tedious significance to the band, and a profoundly uninteresting anecdote waiting to be told – I have joined the party late and I have just got into their third single “Standing in the dark”.
In typical British pop fashion, it’s difficult to spot that these boys are British at all, with that sort of mid-Atlantic accent to the lead vocalist’s voice. He’s got a sensitive soul though, you can tell from his unthreatening falsetto and comfortable sweater.
At first glance it seems pretty generic; a tried-and-tested tale of love lost, dressed up in a surprisingly glossy but inevitably cliched pop video. Our brave boys are in some desolate office building, but it’s raining inside (perhaps like the rain inside their hearts, aww).
Ultimately it’s got all the pieces in place: lots of real band-looking equipment, flash special effects, dramatic over-emoting, handsome serious young men getting soaked. Hang on, isn’t this a bit like that BBMak video for “Out of my heart (into your head)”? God I loved that song.
I digress. Musically it’s totally over the top, and nigh-on impossible to sing in the car without crushing a bollock beforehand, but he’s got a lovely voice. It might not be the most distinctive thing yet, but lacks the forced accent that many pop voices like to use. It climaxes early and continuously, with the brief verses zipping past before another dose of max-drama chorus.
It’s stealthily catchy, had a lovely little acousticy middle-eight, and enough falsetto to smash a mirror (literally, in the video this happens. Fortunately the lead guy’s model good looks are protected by some sort of telekinesis).
The only thing that really leaps out is his extraordinary pronunciation of “dark”, regularly yelped out throughout the song. “Dah-urrk, dah-urrk (oh!) dah-urrk, dah-urrk” isn’t the most obvious refrain. It sticks out, and maybe not for the best reasons, but I certainly remembered it.
Lawson might not have proved themselves as an exciting new pop force just yet, but they’ve certainly grabbed my attention with this and their previous single, the Savage Garden-esque “Taking over me”. Plus they are super-hot. Hotter than The Wanted, but maybe as clearly defined and memorable just yet.
PS is this song about a stripper? Why’s she dancing on a table?