Released: 17th August 2009.
There are times, when the mind is allowed to wonder awhile, as to what might happen if the impossible happened in pop music. We were wholeheartedly convinced then, that the musical idea of Marti Pellow singing Sting and pre-sell out Kings Of Leon songs accompanied by Maroon 5 under the productive helm of Xenomania was all but something that would never ever happen on record. Until now, it seems, as Brian Higgins et al bring forth Vagabond, the latest pop rock outfit from their reknowned production stable.
Fronted by the glamorous and at once androgynous mop topped Alex Vargas, they formed long before heading to the Kent countryside studios where the likes of "Biology" and "Sweet About Me" were concocted, and after some support stints with James Morrison and McFly, came out the other end with "You Don't Know The Half Of It", a debut album that, we're pleased to say, is at once a beguiling yet delightful mix of sounds that wouldn't sound out of place on the latter day playlist of any local radio station you care to name. In fact, as Popjustice noted upon their launch, they may be the sound of independent local radio until the end of time itself.
Exaggerative a suggestion that may be then, but you can see why. Whilst opener and buzz single "Sweat (Until The Morning)" is a bit of a so-so track with the most awkward sexytime cliches this side of Another Level's "Freak Me", it's when you get past that track that the tunes really kick in - see current single "Don't Wanna Run No More", a torch number that is a rousing power ballad where you almost expect to hear a gospel choir come chantering in before the song's end. If there indeed had been a gospel choir, it would have been proof that you never know which direction Xenomania will go in next with their dead on the mark and forward thinking productions.
But still, they go the whole experimentative hog thus regardless of this - see hit-in-waiting "I've Been Wanting You" with it's Ladyhawke down the disco with Nickelback vibes, "More Than You Can Take" with it's funky, Rod Stewart meets Scissor Sisters strut, and "I Hope You Know Better" which makes more than a few nods in the direction of "Parallel Lines" era Blondie. Whilst time will tell if they are to set the popworld alight, Vagabond have at least got halfway there already with this cracker of a debut set, which is no mean feat in itself.