Review: The Saturdays – Chasing Lights

When The Saturdays appeared on our pop radar we felt sorry for them. Here were five girls dreaming of being the next big thing in a world where the Girls Aloud & Sugababes monopoly showed no signs of letting up. Then we heard the kick-ass music, and suddenly The Saturdays felt like a viable proposition.

First single ‘If This Is Love’ seemed to spring out of nowhere with it’s Yazoo sample shining an electro-pop beacon but there’s been plenty of behind the scenes work going on. Signed to Fascination Records, home to Girls Aloud, they certainly have a pedigree with Rochelle & Frankie alumni of S Club Juniors, the irritatingly enthusiastic Mollie, an X-Factor reject, as well as soloist Vanessa. Then there’s Una – eight years older than the others, she’s a singer songwriter who already oozes disinterest in the project, and could be their Siobhan Donaghy.

If we’re looking for a word to sum up The Saturdays, it’s feistiness. Although nothing can beat the robot disco of 2nd single ‘Up’, there are only really one or two soppy ballads like ‘Issues’ that let ‘Chasing Lights’ down. Instead it’s the fierce chorus of ‘Keep Her’ and the sass of ‘Set Me Off’ that get us excited. ‘Work’ is an irresistible dancefloor puller destined to be a single,while ‘Lies’ is an electro-ballad that proves these girls will be taking no mess from the boys.

Energetic and fun, ‘Chasing Lights’ is a promising debut. It’s not perfect but it’s better than any of us could have expected.

Review: Sugababes – Catfights & Spotlights

Pop groups rarely make it to six albums, but Sugababes have managed just that.  Sometimes described as a brand rather than a band, their distinctiveness has faded through the years – culminating in the personality-free, but very successful ‘Change’.

Uninteresting lead single ‘Girls’ aside, ‘Catfights and Spotlights’ could be the album to make us fall back in love with them. We wouldn’t normally praise an album so ballad-heavy, but if there’s one thing the these girls can do well, it’s a killer ballad, the likes of ‘Stronger’ and ‘Too Lost In You’ still sending shivers up our spine. The Karen Poole penned  ‘Sunday Rain’ is an epic tearstained tale with a nod to Sam Brown’s ‘Stop’, while Klas Ahlund (who produced Robyn’s album) introduces quirky sounds and swelling strings on ‘Every Heart Broken’. Newest member Amelle has finally found her position within the band, her smoky voice adding a dangerous edge on the haunting ‘Side Chick’ and self-penned ‘Beware’.

The tempo lifts only occasionally and even then it’s somewhat forgettable. While ‘Hanging on a Star’ could be a Dana Dawson B-side, second single ‘No Can Do’ will certainly bounce its way into the heart of your favourite radio station.

The girls claim they’ve grown up and ditched pop. Not at all – they’ve just added some Motown horns and a twinkling of eighties funk. The result is an album that sounds the most like the Sugababes since ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’. We’re glad you’re back.

Originally published at Orange Music

Review: Red Blooded Women at Water Rats

Red Blooded Women

Good new girl groups are far and few between. While we may have loved Sugababes back in the day and Girls Aloud are still owners of our heart, for everyone of them there’s also been a Clea, a Mania and a Frank. Now, more than ever since the time of Spice Power, new girl groups are trying to make it, with Red Blooded Women being one name in a long list.

Put together by Mark Pattison, a former journalist for Popjustice, you’d expect them to be sassy, edgy and poptastic and it seems they are just that. We caught Carly, Candy and Liz at one a small London gig at Water Rats last night playing to an excitable crowd in an excitable manner. There’s no faux graces or stage school wide eyes about these three, instead you’re kind of transported to the world of the Spice Girls before they were famous with cheeky on stage banter, flirting with the audience and leader of the gang Liz becoming your new best mate.

As The Saturdays make the first girl group chart stamp of 2008 with their Yazoo sampling ‘If This Is Love’, Red Blooded Women somehow manage to choose the same band to sample on opening track ‘Colour Me Dirty’. Typical of their sound, it’s big, brash and oozing with 80s synths much like debut single ‘You Made Your Bed’, complete with ‘With Every Heartbeat’ style breakdown. Our favourite song had to be cheeky PWL homage ‘Keep up The Attraction’ dedicated to Banarama and built with mischevious dance routines.

We have to be honest here, but we’re not entirely sure that all vocals we heard tonight were live. They were a bit too perfect, still we’re not talking about anything serious and chinstroking here, just pure unashamed pop calculated for dancefloor perfection.

Check them out online here and download a megamix of their forthcoming album here.