Citing a band as unfashionable as The Police may well alienate a whole loads of potential listeners, but it didn't stop The Hoff attending their gig at Koko or Dave Allen (The Cure, Depeche Mode) producing the Greenwich quartet's debut. It's impossible to launch into a review of this album without a brief overview of The Alps - the record has been entirely funded by fans, after the band set up a page on www.slicethepie.com, a website which aims to compete in "a climate of poor major label hit-rates and roster downsizing" by allowing its visitors to donate money to bands they like the sound of. The Alps managed to acquire £21,000 from effectively turning themselves into a plc where fans buy a share in them - was it worth the sell out?The sound on offer is one of surfy harmonies, bright and confident generic 'oh ohs' and an overriding sense of affability.For those very reasons, it's simply too mild-mannered and derivative to temper its radio-friendliness; where bands like Good Shoes and The Rifles add an edge, The Alps fail to go beyond third gear. It's certainly been produced and there's even a degree of soft focus, but songs like 'Obstacle Race' and 'Goodnight Vienna' show a lack of variation in repertoire. Each track opens with eight to twelve bars of guitar-led introduction before veering into indistinct and melancholic verses, then towards louder more anthemic choruses and back again. The rhythms are hazy, the textures too much of a Britpop spin-off. In fact, not even once does 'Something I Might Regret' veer into polarising territory - it's far too unambitious for that. Content to remain in the middle-ground, The Alps are going to have to think harder if they want to merit their funding. Try harder next time, boys.