Zomba Records – 2001 – 75 minutes

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, and the shelves of your local record shop are groaning under the weight of this year's greatest hits collections, even from bands that don't seem to have been around long enough to have released enough songs to fill such an album. Can Steps – as the sticker on the cover insists – really have released 15 top 10 singles? Apparently so, and such longevity in these days of ephemeral one hit wonders evidently needs to be celebrated.

Described by manager Pete Waterman as "ABBA on speed", Steps greatest hits collection is named 'Gold' in evident homage to their Scandinavian heroes. The ABBA factor is also evident on songs like 'Better Best Forgotten' and 'Last Thing on My Mind'. The rest of the album follows a carefully adjudged mixture of cover versions (the BeeGees pop-tastic 'Tragedy' and 'Chain Reaction'), songs from the Stock Aitkin Waterman era (a speedy version of 'Better the Devil You Know') and disco influences (dance-floor filler 'Stomp').

Although their first single, the step dancing classic '5, 6, 7, 8' now sounds completely out of place, Steps have managed to transcend their wobbly start (they were originally manufactured for that one single) and survive for five years – the equivalent of several lifetimes in the pop industry.

No doubt about it, this band of squeaky-voiced pop muppets will have you driven you mad by breakfast time on Christmas day – but the kids will love it, and isn't that what it's all about.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Tragedy - One For Sorrow - Stomp - Better Best - Forgotten - Love's Got A Hold On My Heart - Deeper Shade Of Blue - Last Thing On My Mind - Better The Devil You know - Summer Of Love - 5,6,7,8 - Chain Reaction - Baby Don't Dance - Its The Way You Make Me Feel - After The Love Has Gone - Here & Now - Say You'll Be Mine - Only In My Dreams - Words Are Not Enough - When I Said Goodbye – Heartbeat