When BBMak first debuted in 2000, the notion of a teen pop band writing its own songs seemed, well, forward-thinking.
Now that nu metal and neo-garage rock has stolen teen pop’s thunder, BBMak looks pretty anachronistic. The English trio was a link to the future; now, it’s a link to the past.
Nothing much has changed since BBMak’s impressive first album, Sooner or Later — Christian Burns, Mark Barry and Ste McNally still have syrup-coated voices; they’re still strumming shiny, happy guitars; and they’re still dealing with the weighty topics of romance and women.
BBMak knows it struck a pretty nice balance the last time out, and the band is wise not to pretend they’re more of a rock band nor less of a pop band.
On the surface, Into Your Head sounds like a carbon copy of Sooner or Later, but after time, some significant differences reveal themselves.
Into Your Head is definitely a summer album. There’s barely a minor chord strummed on the entire disc. Even when they sing about love done gone (“Sympathy”, “After All Is Said and Done”), the trio’s sunny harmonies hint at a brighter day on the proverbial horizon.
“Staring Into Space” is so uplifting, the trite lyrics are pretty much a given: “Give yourself a chance to be free/You got to give yourself away/In the end the love you receive/Is equal to the love you take.”
Problem with summer albums, though, is they don’t fare well in other seasons. Sooner or Later had enough gravity to feel like more than just a clever gimmick. (“Ghost of You and Me” — it’s beautiful, man!)
Into Your Head, however, is nothing but surface, even when it aims for depth. The band’s songwriting hit all the right notes and strums all the right chords, but none of it can quite surpass that pop music hump between “generic” and “credible”.
What few pop fans out there still jonesing for NSync and the Backstreet Boys will definitely enjoy this album, but rockers with blood sugar issues of the ear might not find respite in BBMak from all the “serious” r’n’r out there.
BBMak still represents a marvelous bridge between rock and pop — but just not on this album.