The Britpop revival continues! Cast follow in the resurgent footsteps of Blur, Pulp, Shed Seven and even the reformed Kula Shaker with their seventh LP Love Is The Call. Now a trio, with leader John Power returning to his roots on bass along with Liam Tyson on guitars and Keith O’Neill a stalwart on the drums. Not that it’s detrimental to the sonic power of the record with Love Is The Call bursting with anthemic energy, rocking beats and Power’s distinctive scouse pop vocals.

Love Is The Call delivers typical sunshine guitars and 60s (or do we now say 90s?) infused melodies, like Merseybeat ramped up to the max. And underneath the surface of such danceable music you’ll find motifs concerned with leaving the past behind, escaping the drudgery of the everyday and reaching for something better, now or tomorrow – but never wallowing in the what-might-have-been. Typical Britpop tropes that have always been part of Cast’s canon but now riding the wave of desire to hear the OGs of the era. It’s worth considering how Britpop first bloomed from the miserable gutters of early 90s life under the Conservatives. Similar to today and with an upsurge in vinyl sales, there appears to be a general sense of being fed-up with the cynical state of the world (including largely digitised and soulless music).

Opening with a folky overture, ‘Bluebird’ is not indicative of what’s to come but does tee up the record’s mix of psychedelic Liverpudlian rock in the great vein of former band The La’s as well as proteges like The Coral.

And thereafter, from ‘Forever and a Day”s power chords and big chorus right through to ‘Tomorrow Calls My Name’ we’re given a masterclass in typical northern optimistic melancholy, twanging guitars, footstomping rockers and chasing-the-sun euphoria.

Power is a master at crafting songs that at first seem formulaic but then blindsides the listener with a trippy middle-eight key change; as he does here on highlights like ‘Rain That Falls’, ‘Starry Eyes’ and the La’s-y ‘Love You Like I Do’. Sure, some of it could be classed as derivative and there’s only so many ways you can do this type of music but what sets Cast apart from other parka-clad paint-by-numbers merchants is the joy they put in the music. It’s evident on a song like ‘I Have Been Waiting’ which will be a top addition to their live set. This is an album made for communal moments and will appeal as much to the die-hards as it will to the young team. Perhaps best summed up by penultimate track ‘Time Is Like A River’ which focuses on the foolishness of looking back and trying to grasp something irrepressibly moving on. The ‘river’ is all powerful, moving forward carrying us all; a theme appreciated by most, young and old. Appreciated too, by a band discovering a refreshed creative stream ready to sail on for a long time yet.