Sugarbabes - One Touch

Sugarbabes are the kink in the track on the railway system of pop. At the tender age of 16 Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan are changing the way we look at pop music. With just one single behind them, they release the album "One Touch" - its a dangerous move, but one that looks certain to work.

When I first heard "Overload" I hated it, but like all the great pop songs I grew to love it. Perhaps musically the obvious comparisons are label mates All Saints, vocally the girls sound an almost carbon copy of the girls and at times what lets them down is the same annoying whine made famous by Shaznay. Visually its that "Don't Give A Fuck" indifference to their success that puts them head & shoulders above the rest, none of these sacharine pop dance routines crap for them.

The highlight by a distance is the slinky soul / Motown / disco stomper of "Real Thing". Co-written by the girls and Matt Rowe, who if I'm not mistaken wrote several of the Spice Girls classic hits, it shows a maturity beyond their years, as does "New Year" featuring the telling line "were older than our years". Being the difficult girls they are the former will probably be released as the final single from the album rather than the traditional ballad. The rest of the album varies from the classic "Soul Sound" to the obvious filler of "Lush Life". Sound wise, in the main, it's the sort of rough round the edges production that we all know and love from "Overload". In its attempts to break the conventional rules of pop the whole album lacks that variety of styles you get on a debut pop album - Like the All Saints debut album, you could say that it is perhaps a little one dimensional.

Despite the Anti pop pretensions, its an album that has been marketed just as heavily as any other debut album. While it may not be the best album released this year, it certainly shows potential for girls their age - so give them a couple of years and them may just produce an album as good as "Saints & Sinners".

Alex McCann

London Records