Album: Appleton

Everything's Eventual, Polydor

Friday 21 February 2003 01:00

Given their reputation as the partying faction of All Saints, you would not have expected the Appleton sisters to have an album out before Mel or Shaznay; but clearly, their ambition is the keener. Which is just as well, since there does not appear to be much of a guiding aesthetic principle to Everything's Eventual: though competently assembled and stylishly outfitted by producers such as Craigie Dodds, Carsten Kroeyer and Marius De Vries, it lacks a strong defining character, flitting about from pop to trip hop to mild techno to hip hop, and even to the verge of funk-metal, never establishing a commanding presence. Apart from a couple of bland feel-good anthems and the new single, "Don't Worry", it's mostly concerned with the ups and downs of love; but compared with the depth at which John Doe considers such matters, romance is here boiled down to the most drab of clichés. Passion doesn't get any more plastic than the come-ons in "All Grown Up" and "Fantasy", while the numbing predominance of break-up songs plays to the canard that modern girls should define themselves through their relationships with men. And when the sisters stray beyond those parameters, as with the "hard life" hip hop of "MWA", it hardly rings true. What they do have going for them, of course, is an ear for a gilt-edged hook, which is what will keep Appleton's bubble in the air a while longer. But, however shiny the surface, it's still hollow.

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