Album: All Saints <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Five years is an eternity in pop, especially the kind of teen-oriented pop in which All Saints once dealt. It's an unforgiving medium, with an audience prey to the contrary breezes of fashion. As the Spice Girls discovered to their chagrin, childish things tend to get put away for good once a modicum of maturity enters the equation - and frankly, All Saints won't be the only ones now resembling young mums trying not to look too unhip as they drop the little ones off at kindergarten. Musically, the group's attempts to update their sound revolve around reggae rhythms - some, like the loping skank of "Rock Steady" and the ska of "Scar", with their intentions bluntly signalled by their titles. But the subject matter merely rehashes tired R&B girl-group tropes - the routine come-ons and bad-mouthings - and while some tracks are pleasant enough, they lack the potency of, say, Girls Aloud, without the group having developed any compensatory depth or subtlety.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Rock Steady', 'Fundamental'