Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Predictably glowing Girls Aloud album review

Five albums in and Girls Aloud have finally discovered the minor key. Bittersweet tales of heartbreak are in - and references to martinis, lingerie and supermodels are out.

But it's not all bad news...

Last year's Greatest Hits compilation gave hit-makers Xenomania a year off writing duties, and they've used the downtime to refocus and recalibrate the Girls Aloud sound. For once, they've been given complete control - authoring all 12 songs - and it shows. Shorn of the tawdry chart-baiting cover versions that so badly marr the band's back catalogue, Tangled Up unravels as the most coherent, mature Girls Aloud album to date.

Opener and forthcoming single Call The Shots sets the tone. Less frenetic than previous releases, it finds the girls resigned to a faltering relationship - practically sighing while delivering the line "If you decide that you can't love me, I won't shoot you down".

Tracks like Close To Love and Black Jack continue the theme of love lost - but rather than marry these downbeat lyrics to a series of sugary ballads, Xenomania whip up a storm.

A thunderous guitar riff powers through Sexy! No No No, while the bass on I'm Falling could tear a serious hole in your subwoofer (fnar, fnar). Wrapped around this glorious cacophony are a series of vintage Girls Aloud melodies, shooting off in unexpected directions like an explosion in a fireworks factory.

The band's knack for offbeat lyrics also remains intact. One of the stand-out tracks, Fling, marks a brief return to the fab five's man-bating ways of yore, as they prowl a club declaring "It's just a fling, baby... (I) don't want a relationship so swing, baby". How rude.

All of the songs are potential singles - although I'd pick out Close To Love and Can't Speak French as highlights. It's just a shame that Kylie and the Spice Girls will get all the attention, when Girls Aloud have released the pop album of the year.

PS If you buy the album in Woolworths, you can get an bonus CD of remixes for £1.97. Wow!
PPS Ticket's for the band's fourth tour go on sale this Friday. Double wow with a cherry on top!

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