Tiny Dancers - Free School Milk

With music this jolly it's hard to imagine listening to a whole album's worth for fear of dying of happiness. Thankfully, this goes some way to proving that this band have other dimensions.

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Released 11 Jun 2007 | Parlophone | By Richard Stokoe | Rating: 3-5
Tiny Dancers - Free School Milk

It's clear that Tiny Dancers are cut from the same cloth as The Zutons and The Coral - playing a similar style of folk and beat inspired R 'n' B. In reality they're more like a playful younger brother, writing Toy Town melodies for jaunty and instantly likeable pop songs that are designed purely to put a smile on your face. 'I Will Wait For You', 'Baby Love' and current single 'Hannah, We Know' are the best examples, and each are cheerful reminders that summer has finally arrived. This is a good thing, naturally, but with music this jolly it's hard to imagine listening to a whole album's worth for fear of dying of happiness. Thankfully, 'Free School Milk' goes some way to proving that this band have other dimensions.

Opening track '20 to 9' swaps a Joy Division funeral procession for a chorus that is as close as they get to raucous, so preconceptions should be cast aside from the off. Album closer 'Deep Water' is a bubbly number initially, but takes a sinister turn, implying that all is not well in the nursery. Sandwiched inbetween, the band give us their take on country ('Shame'), Celtic folk ('I've Got to Go') - even briefly dabbling in electro ('Sun Goes Down'). In 'Moon Song #2' they go as far as giving us a glimpse of what they might be producing beyond the difficult second, third & fourth albums and heading for middle age. Sounding as though they're acting out a fantasy performing as Neil Diamond on 'Stars In Their Eyes' - and it works.

So, it seems they can turn their hand to a number of styles without overshadowing their ability to write a good tune. This bodes well for the future of Tiny Dancers, showing that they're willing to extend possibilities beyond their own comfort zone. For the time being, the soulful pop of 'Free School Milk' will put a spring in many a step this summer.