A/V Room









All Saints - Saints & Sinners

Review: Jack Foley

HAVING helped the likes of Madonna and Blur to produce some of their best material in ages, William Orbit now turns his attentions to All Saints - the girl band who have always managed to sound a little more sophisticated and listener friendly than the chart-obsessed, teeny bopper likes of The Spice Girls.

The result - Saints and Sinners - is a pretty good album, one which is just about capable of bringing the band a new army of listeners without ever alienating those who helped make them famous.

For while Orbit has managed to take the sound of Madonna and Blur and make them sound different, All Saints seem content to keep their sound and only add elements of that Orbit genius. And he is not present on all of the album.

Hence, tracks such as the sweeping, shimmering Pure Shores (the former number one single taken from The Beach soundtrack) and Dreams stand out as being among the best songs on the album - benefiting from the influence that is most definitely William Orbit.

Pure Shores, in particular, remains a timeless classic, as fresh today as it was when released earlier this year, it is a brave addition to the album given that it was originally conceived as a stand alone single. It is a good starting point on an album which, it is fair to say, starts very strongly and only gets weaker.

Second track, All Hooked Up, is another cracker, featuring the All Saints and their most laid back and seductive.

A nice beat, some great vocals and a guest background rap help to ensure that lines such as 'I know that you want a piece of my arse, don't you know that a guy like you wouldn't pass' have the desired effect. I, for one, would love a piece of any of the Appleton sisters' arse, yet I guess I just wouldn't pass (sorry, ed)!

The aforementioned Dreams marks the return of Orbit and some nice acoustic guitar, with a beat which brings out the best of their voices, while last single, Black Coffee, which sounds vaguely reminiscent of Pure Shores, is typical of the sound of the album - subtle, pleasing to the ear, and able to appeal to a cross section of listeners.

Indeed, it is a measure of All Saints success that they have such universal appeal - rather, like Madonna, they are at home in the charts and on a wide cross section of dancefloors.

Indeed, one suspects the Madonna influence wasn't very far behind when it came to penning some of the tracks, as songs such as Whoopin Over You wouldn't sound out of place on her latest CD, Music.

Surrender, with its distinctive chorus and nice build up, is another William Orbit gem, while title track, Saints and Sinners, is more old-school All Saints - though still worth listening to.

Only very rarely does the album drift towards mediocrity, as in the laughable Ha Ha (a somewhat lazy effort), but there are times when outside musical influences come to the fore - never more so than in the aforementioned Whoopin Over You, which manages to combine elements of Madonna with, curiously, Smashmouth's Walking On The Sun.

Saints and Sinners certainly offers value for money and a pleasing, easy listen.

All Saints fans will love it, and so may the unconverted.

Track listing:
1. Pure Shores
2. All Hooked Up
3. Dreams
4. Distance
5. Black Coffee
6. Whoopin' Over You
7. I Feel You
8. Surrender
9. Ha Ha
10. Love Is Love
11. Ready Willing And Able
12. Saints And Sinners
13. I Don't Wanna Be Alone (UK CD)
14. One More Tequila (UK CD)

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z