Universal Island - 2002 - 54 minutes

Credible pop? Surely not. Sugababes have proven to be favourites among a diverse range of punters, including DJ's, journalists and the CD-buying public. They're the new All Saints - sassy, sexy and soulful.

This is their second album, and hopes are it will make more of an impact than the first. Not that it was their fault, but bad management, little publicity and the shock departure of band member Siobhan Donaghy - who apparently took a toilet break on a promotional stop in Japan and never came back - quashed the potential of an otherwise quality record from a quality trio.

It couldn't have a better start, kicking off with two fantastic singles 'Freak Like Me' - a first-class version of a bootleg remix of Adina Howard's track sampled with Gary Numan's 'Are Friends Electric' - and the infectious current single 'Round Round' which is topping every radio station's playlist. Already it seems as if we're on course for a very promising album…

Well, it certainly has its share of good tracks. The aforementioned singles are definite stand-outs. 'Blue' has sounds of Missy Elliot loops through the verse, then the reliable catchy chorus is called on once again. The cover of Sting's 'Shape Of My Heart' (with Sting included) is a nice touch, but the other songs are perhaps a little too diverse. The album itself is very difficult to classify, with ingredients ranging from funk and r'n'b to rock and pop. Don't assume you know the Sugababes and their sound, because this album will surprise you - but in a pleasant way.

If you're looking for 14 versions of 'Round Round', buy the single. If you want a taste of the Sugababes range, get the album.

David Byrne


Tracklisting:
Freak Like Me - Blue - Round Round - Stronger - Supernatural - Angels With Dirty Faces - Virgin Sexy - Shape Of My Heart - Just Like This - No Man No Cry - Switch - More Than A Million Miles - Breathin' Easy - Round Round (Alternative Mix)