V2 Music - 2003 - 60 minutes

Liberty X seem to have done enough to answer their critics merely by releasing a second album and achieving a longevity that is not usually associated with manufactured' pop bands. But that triumph aside there is plenty to recommend 'Being Somebody'.

The five have an infectious party beat that sticks in your head, whether you're a fan or not, producing the kind of upbeat anthems that are instant dance-floor hits. And, rather surprisingly, they can also tackle strong ballads, proving that there is no lack of vocal talent amongst the popularly dubbed Flopstars. In fact, coming out of the reality TV show second-best was probably the best kickstart the band could have got, side-stepping the blatant branding that plagued Hear'Say.

With eleven self-penned tracks out of sixteen, Liberty X are making every effort to break the pop mould, setting themselves apart from the cover versions and miming acts that consume the industry. Dance tracks 'Jumpin' and 'Being Nobody' are instantly memorable for their sheer energy and exuberance. Although they can also do strong harmonies for slower songs like 'The Poet' and 'Forever', Liberty X do party pop best.

This offering does plenty to illustrate the combined songwriting abilities of Heaton, Young, Taylor, Simm and particularly Lundon. There are sure to be more hits on this album, possibly in the form of the energetic 'I Just Wanna', 'Watcha Doin' Tonight' and 'Take Me Home'. As evident from 'Being Somebody', Liberty X have an unquenchable enthusiasm that is often lacking at this stage in a career. Their thirst for audience reaction and hunger to outdo their previous offerings have visibly enhanced the quality of their music.

There is plenty on 'Being Somebody' to ensure that Liberty X once again increase their shelf-life. As Liberty X earn their album title, they might like to dedicate the subverted name of their recent single 'Being Nobody' to burnt out pop rivals Hear'Say. Their survival thus far is proof that winning a reality talent show is not always rewarded by lasting appeal. Everyone loves the underdogs.

Linda McGee

Tracklisting: Intro (Being Somebody) - Jumpin' - Being Nobody (Liberty X vs Richard X) - Everybody Cries - Watcha Doin' Tonight - The Poet - I'll Be Remembering - The Last Goodbye - Let Go - Forever - Close Your Eyes - I Just Wanna - Impossible - Take Me Home - Story Of My Life - Maybe - Bonus Track