Dressed To Kill - Preston Single Review
Sam Preston has been keeping his head below the parapet. Following the turbulent rise and fall of The Ordinary Boys, his Celebrity Big Brother joyride and the subsequent car-crash marriage to Chantelle Houghton (followed by the marginally less glamorous divorce), he ducked out the back door, almost unnoticed.
By his own admission, 'Preston' looked the cult of celebrity in the eye and took it on; secure in the knowledge that he could tame it, that it wouldn't seduce and destroy him like it has so many. He was wrong, and it made him go very quiet. He went to his room to think long and hard about what he had done and didn't come out again for two years.
Of course, Preston never stood a chance. Fame or infamy - if there's a difference - can plump the ego and the bank account in equal measure but the enduring image of many a Heat generation icon is so often that of a fading, jaded 'star' clawing desperately at the red-tops, trying to regain a credibility they probably never had. Preston slipped away before plumbing those depths - just - in search of a fresh perspective and no doubt longing to feel solid ground beneath his feet again. In search of a quieter life.
Yet the tyranny of obscurity can be all too much for the Skins generation, where anyone with a computer is urged to 'broadcast yourself'. Public repentance is, for many, a sure-fire way back into the vodka'n'lime-light. Certainly, the all-new Preston is eloquently contrite about his celebrity criminal record (and criminal records). He looks back on the gift to his wife of the personalised number plate M155 LTD ('Miss Living the Dream') with particular consternation. And so he bloody should.
Excessive, vulgar squanderings aside, repentant celebs have premised many a chapter on the that-was-then-and-this-is-now notion and Preston wisely, if predictably, uses those darker times as valuable perspective in launching his second pop career. In his own words, he's now 'ready to be a popstar'. We'll see. When I was nine, I was ready to be European Footballer of the Year but you know what they say about the best laid plans.
So now he's back, with a clean-ish slate. And, of course, we can all look forward to getting in line to leer and sneer; at his pretty boy looks, at his mock-mod self-styling, at his predictable Madness-meets-Ben-Sherman music. Can't we? Well, no, not especially.
If you haven't yet heard Dressed to Kill rest assured that it is not what you are expecting. If you have heard it, you will have undoubtedly been shocked (or at least surprised) to learn that it is Preston. It is a slice of on-trend, catchy, hooky electro pop.
Written and co-produced by Preston, who also apparently 'played all the instruments', it is - in style at least - somewhere between Cathy Dennis-penned Kylie and La Roux. There is also a Siouxsie and The Banshees sample from 1980 single Happy House, which earns Siouxsie a writing credit.
A sniff just over three minutes and packed with hooks and breaks and tripping melodies; Dressed to Kill is a refreshing sound if not a refreshing idea in a scene already throat-deep in eighties-inspired recession pop, where the real thing is increasingly hard to differentiate from inferior imitation.
So is Preston's new sound the real McCoy or is he yet another pretender? Time will tell, not least upon release of the horribly titled album Whatever Forever. For now, Dressed to Kill is likely to be bothering the airwaves for a few weeks and - to the begrudging surprise of many - it suggests that one Sam Preston may not be so ordinary after all.