Girls Aloud - Tangled Up
Review by Jack Foley
TANGLED Up is an appropriate name for this fourth studio album from Girls Aloud – for it’s a bit of a mess really.
After the promise shown in 2005’s Chemistry, this marks something of a backward step for the all-girl favourites. Perhaps it’s because the competition is a little hotter during this Christmas run-in what with new albums from Sugababes and The Spice Girls to guard against. But Girls Aloud seem to be playing things a little too safe and the result is a strangely generic offering that contains very few surprises, pleasant or otherwise.
Lead single and opening track Call The Shots is a suitably pumped-up start that finds the girls on Sugababes form and generally winning listeners over with their slick, infectious melodies. But thereafter, it’s a decidedly mixed affair, despite having been produced by long-time collaborators Xenomania.
Tracks to keep an eye out for include the infectious Can’t Speak French, which offers a contemporary take on the classic girl groups of yesteryear, Black Jacks, which combines a rousing back beat with some welcome sassiness, and the foot-stomping I’m Falling, which really ought to get the dancefloor bustling.
But elsewhere, the album gets stuck in a rut of easy crowdpleasers that fail to stretch the girls’ vocal talents or take them off in any new direction. Close To Love is a disco influenced floor-filler that seems to have its eye on too many contemporaries (such as Kylie or Madonna), while former hit Sexy! No No No is the sort of track that could be delivered by any number of all-girl bands.
Girl Overboard flatters to deceive in the same way despite a promising opening and Control Of The Knife feels like a really lazy offering that is pure album filler. Attempts to get bolshy, Salt n Pepa/Missy Elliott style, also backfire on the lamentable pop-rock offering Fling, that’s quite possibly the worst track on the album.
The remaining tracks fail to inspire anything other than indifference and will probably only be embraced by the diehard fans who still believe that everything Girls Aloud touch equals music gold – in the same way that loyal McFly fans stick ardently by everything that band releases.
What makes Tangled Up all the more disappointing is that Girls Aloud seem capable of so much better. They’re strong vocally and they’re at a point in their careers when they can experiment a little and really carve a niche for themselves in this pop world. It’s what they still need to do if they’re to enjoy the sort of longevity which – like Madonna and Kylie – they’re capable of achieving.
Download picks: Calling The Shots, Can’t Speak French, Black Jacks, I’m Falling