Dodgy have taken a somewhat softly softly approach to their comeback since burying the hatchet back in 2008.
Reunion shows and festival dates have been sprinkled around here and there, but it’s only really now that they’ve upped the ante and gone for broke.
The reason? Well, it’s the small matter of a new studio album, Stand Upright In A Cool Place, which is slated for release next February. They’re pretty confident about its quality, too, and bravely played it in its entirety during the first half of this Fleece show.
There’s no grand rethink in terms of their approach - the three-part harmonies and classic songcraft of their Britpop heyday still remain.
The acoustic-led openers Tripped & Fell and What Became of You proved frontman and songwriter Nigel Clark hasn’t lost his keen ear for hooky melodies while the woozy melancholia of Waiting For The Sun made for another impressive offering.
And the fire in their bellies at social injustice is as fierce as ever - the sparkling power pop of We Try and folky fingerpicked Find A Place both burned with righteous ire. Pick of the bunch was Raggedstone Hill where tubthumper Matthew Priest was finally let off the leash to fly around the kit on some tasty Keith Moon-style drum fills.
For the greatest hits second half, the spirit of The Who was also clear with a cracking version of In A Room before the Beatlesque swoon of Found You sauntered into view.
They were both trumped though by the superb one-two punch of a super-funky Good Enough which prompted the first crowd singalong of the night and a rollicking Staying Out For The Summer - the latter just what we needed on a bitterly cold December evening.
After less than 45 minutes of hits, they perhaps hadn’t built up enough momentum to risk epic ballad Grassman, but it did provide a nice counterpoint to their feistier moments.
It’s good to have them back, for sure, and they’ve a lot to be optimistic about. Dodgy were always too good to languish in the Where Are They Now? file.