I like Busted and I’m 47 years old. I’m considering going to see them in September, even though I’ll be going on my own since my best mate refused to let his 14-year-old come with me, and my nieces are too little. If I go I’ll also review the concert. Right here.  On my website, and I don’t care what you think about that.

I’ll be honest, ladies and gents. Your humble scribe tends to see things in black and white terms. I’ve never gone in for the bollocks about something being so bad its good. I don’t have guilty pleasures. I like stuff or I don’t like stuff.

Here’s a couple of things I don’t like. Musicals. And Abba. My dad likes both. It concerns me.

So you might be wondering why a bloke who hates musicals and Abba is reviewing a covers album that is dedicated to the former and includes the latter. Well, the answer is rather obvious: It’s really, really good.

I might be late to the party, but until about a fortnight ago, I’d never heard of Punk Rock Factory. Apparently since their debut self-release in 2019, they have been quietly gaining a colossal online fan base. The band has already racked up over 26 million streams on Spotify, 5 million likes on TikTok, 250,000 followers on Instagram, and over 11 million views on YouTube. That’s no mean feat for a band you’ve never heard of (’til now)!

Oh, and about TikTok: I’m firmly convinced that anyone over the age of 35 who uses it should be on some kind of register.

But back to “It’s Just A Stage We’re Going Through.” Of the 11 songs on it, I only know two: “December, 1963,” which is brilliant whoever does it, and “Mamma Mia,” which sucks irredeemably.

I don’t know “Rewrite the Stars,” but I know it probably didn’t sound like Bowling for Soup on the original. “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton makes it tempting to write Bowling For Soup after them all, I wouldn’t have before last spring, but I had a Road to Damascus-style moment with them. Maybe I’ll have one with musicals? I mean this contains the lyrics. “Kill Your Friends and Family” Who knew?

“Waving Through A Window” continues the PRF tradition of getting special guests; this one has Jeff Stinko of Simple Plan. “December, 1963” is superb rock n roll – this is the one. That you can do this proves you are a band of genuine skill. “Defying Gravity” has harmonies, and joking aside, this is a band of real ability. “I Dreamed A Dream” is from Les Misérables (thanks Google).

And then there’s Abba. The Swedes are second only to Queen on my most hated bands list, and I’m sorry, although I’m sure “Mamma Mia” is fun and all, nah. “Shallow” on the other hand, has a real Jimmy Eat World thing going on, and that’s enough.

If I had a gun pointed to my head and was forced to watch one musical, then Grease would be it. “You’re The One That I Want” proves what is actually great about this. There’s no irony. This isn’t one of those whacky pastiche, sniggering student things; this is a pop band covering songs, which sounds obvious, but when I got it, I assumed it’d be the worst type of nonsense.

That’s what they do right to the end. I’ve never seen “Sister Act,” but I know “I Will Follow Him,” and it also gives this the type of crescendo all musicals seem to have.

The press release calls them “Irresistible pop punk rascals,” and that’s about it. “Just A Stage We’re Going Through” is a sugar rush in a world of Pepsi Max, if you will, a shot of fun, and Punk Rock Factory aren’t after anything but to make people smile.

Now, where’s them Busted tickets.

Rating 8/10

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