ONKA'S BIG MOKA
Toploader (Sony) Toploader are big at home in Britain, but don't take that as any guarantee of quality. The post-Oasis British pop scene has been filled in the past few years by the likes of Liverpool's Cast, who, after early promise, faded into mediocrity.
Toploader seem to be there already with this largely average debut. At their best, when they sound like a cross between Gomez and Van Morrison, they're less than convincing, coming over like an uncertain garage band who can't believe they've got a record deal.
Elsewhere they stray into The Verve's territory and you don't want to go there. Sometimes they get funky or 'dancey', and they even go gospel. They finish the set with a joke number that brings to mind the first Oasis album.
Ultimately this collection is insubstantial and nothing you haven't heard before. Its underlying strain, if any, is British summer guitar pop and you know what damp squibs British summers can be.