In 1981 a British quartet, Bucks Fizz, won the Eurovision Song Contest with their own brand of pop as Making Your Mind Up went on to sell over four million copies. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, with original group member Bobby G taking legal action over the use of the name, Mike Nolan’s horrendous injuries following the coach crash in 1984, Jay Aston’s cancer diagnosis and obviously the many line up changes.

But the survivors, Cheryl Baker, Nolan and Aston have formed a spin off group under the guise of The Fizz, and have never really looked back. Following the release of their 2017 album, The F-Z Of Pop, which was a mixture of old and new songs, the trio are back with an album filled with entirely new music, some of them quite personal.

Smoke & Mirrors is undoubtedly an album to get you singing along and in the confines of your own home during self isolation; your feet tapping. Bringing together again The Fizz and Mike Stock of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame was a great decision because it has resulted in some great tracks.

First single from the album, Winning Ways, has that nostalgic sound which old fans will well and truly love and because the other tracks are so ridiculously catchy, The Fizz are bound to attract lots of new fans with this album. T.O.T.P are initials that will instantly resonate with listeners of a certain age and as this track starts with a sample of a Tony Blackburn voice over who introduces the TV programme that used to boast 19 million viewers, it takes you on a trip down memory lane, especially as there is a nod to Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke.

The World We Left Behind is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love and features lead vocals from Baker and Nothings Gonna Last Forever are both finely crafted pop songs, whilst the Latin influenced Reservation and Second To None, a track co-written by Baker’s daughter, Kyla Stroud, with its driving guitar and beat, really hit the spot.

From Here To Eternity, featuring Aston on lead vocals is a stirring ballad and her eccentric penned Boomerang could easily be a Eurovision song with its breathy vocals and catchy chorus that makes singing along compulsory.

With the current success of their 80’s chart contemporaries including Rick Astley, and the rebirth of Bananarama , this Stock and The Fizz sound is as fresh and as popular as ever, because their kind of uplifting entertainment never ages.

With Smoke & Mirrors, The Fizz has provided the perfect antidote to the current lockdown with their best album to date. It is just what is needed to raise a person’s spirits.

Number of tracks: 11

Running time: 38:09 mins

Released on: Absolute

Release date: 6th March 2020

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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