Review: Jack Foley
REMEMBER t.A.T.u (or Tatu), the Russian duo who took the pop
world by storm with their raunchy, lesbian-chic antics with All
The Things She Said?
Well Julia Volkova and Lena Katina are back with a brand new
album of Trevor Horn produced pop tracks that update the template
quite impressively (for a pop record) in places.
Recent single, All About Us, emerged like a statement
of intent from the girls, who pride themselves in doing things
their own way (they memorably refused to perform at the MTV Europe
Music Awards unless they were allowed to use real guns).
It was punchy, poppy and vocally reminiscent of the soaraway
success of their most famous record.
The rest of the long-player follows along in pretty similar fashion,
featuring pulse-pounding beats, vocal trade-offs and Russian influenced
rhythms that have all been honed to appeal to the chart brigade.
That's not really a recommendation, of course, given that many
tracks tend to blend into each other in a better-than-average
Eurovision Song Contest sort of way.
But there is the odd surprise in store that just occasionally
elevates the album above the hum-drum sound of mainstream pop.
Friend or Foe is enlivened somewhat by bass from Sting,
while the oddly-titled Gomenasai features a curiously
sweet strings arrangement from Richard Carpenter that somehow
lends it a touch of class the rest of the album doesn't always
Indeed, were you to listen to Gomenasai as a one-off
you might be forgiven for thinking it had been taken from a West
End show, rather than a pop record.
That same sweetness extends to Craving (I Only Want What
I Can't Have), which slowly builds into a sweeping ballad
incorporating several changes of pace and melodic influences.
We Shout even dares to rip off the Madonna era of Frozen
during its haunting, echoed opening moments and subtle beats before
breaking out into an electronic ballad that's ok in its own right.
The girls resort to their mother tongue for Obezyanka Nol,
which is sure to go down a storm in their homeland, but which
does at least add an interesting different take on the pop thing.
It's a description that befits much of the album given that it
bears all the hallmarks of a traditional pop record (courtesy
of Horn's presence) while offering something to talk about as
It's not a bad effort for something so mainstream.