At just shy of seven minutes long, the opening track 'Talking to Clarry', begins with a haunting riff overlapped by a few simple chords before launching into an epic introduction, boasting an immediate sensory overload with a mini guitar solo. - All this before the first verse even begins. The verses are quiet and calm; the lyrics and Mark Morriss' vocal are tight and maintaining the same progressions intermittently build up and wind down throughout the song. For a track which doesn't appear to have a chorus it really is a belter.
'Bluetonic,' the first single from the album is a masterpiece in it's own right. With some nifty major / minor combinations and quirky lyrics, this is a real peach of a song.
The third single, and indeed third song on the album 'Cut some rug' maintains the high standard set by the opening two tracks, and with its gritty, raw guitar it's easy to see why this one made it to number seven in the charts at a time when Britpop was king of the airwaves.
'Things change' is a quieter, more mellow offering with eloquently written lyrics against a simplistic chord progression.
'The Fountainhead' appears to be an acoustic expression of subtle defiance against an undisclosed authority figure. The lyrics imply the scars of the past are healing and the song in itself is a soulful declaration of empowerment.
'Carnt be Trusted' starts with a tried and true minor chord progression. Although the song is very catchy and flows well, it was the elusive 'fourth single' which never got released, due allegedly, to its lack of a chorus.
'Slight Return' is the next track to follow - a classic 90s Britpop anthem, and arguably the Bluetones' most well-known song. With its simple initial chord strike, and Mark Morriss' plaintive cry of 'where did you go?' the listener is transported back in time to a point in the 90s where jangling indie guitar riffs and up-tempo choruses dominated the British music scene. A modern classic which still sounds fresh and original, an unbelievable twenty years after its release.
Beginning in the same key as Slight return finished, 'Putting out fires' starts with an intricate piece of guitar before building up to an impressive introduction. At nearly six and a half minutes long the track continually builds and calms until finally exploding into it's big chorus. It is exemplary of the Bluetones' early work which earned them their popularity.
'Vampires' is a fast paced, catchy song which has an energetic progressive feel to it, while 'A Parting Gesture' is the album's departure offering a slightly more solemn tone and quieter, slower melody.
Expecting to Fly is rounded off nicely with its closing track 'Time and Again;' another beautiful example of The Bluetones alternating majors and minors to produce a very bright and positive melody. All this leads into a big chorus and ultimately an epic finish.
The Bluetones shot to fame in 1996, expanding their audiences from a few hundred, to thousands in a very short space of time. The reasons lie within this magnificent debut album.