Album Review: All Saints Red Flag
REUNITED GIRL GROUP BACK (AGAIN) WITH A BANG
Edwin McFee, 06 Apr 2016, 17:16
After All Saints’ first ill-fated reunion a decade ago, it’s fair to say that there weren’t too many excited about the ‘90s four-piece deciding to have yet another bite of the cherry.
With a half-baked comeback album already souring proceedings (Studio 1) and their stock lower than ever thanks to ill-advised stints eating kangaroo balls on I’m A Celebrity…, even the most ardent fan found it difficult to be interested in new music from a band who once broke up over who got to wear a jacket for a photo shoot. Fourth LP Red Flag will change all that though. It’s a slick slice of R&B-imbued pop that will confound critics and win back most of those combats-clad fans who jumped ship after the first reunion.
Though there are some wobbles and missteps (the meandering, piano-based ballad ‘Who Hurt Who’ is mawkish and ‘Summer Rain’ is mere filler), there are a handful of tracks which see All Saints at the peak of their powers. ‘One Strike’, a song inspired by the breakdown of Nicole Appleton and Liam Gallagher’s relationship, is a future classic, while the grime and dancehall-infused ‘Ratchet Behaviour’ puts a fresh spin on their sound. The hook-laden ‘Puppet On A String’, meanwhile, is an impressive reimagining of Stock, Aiken and Waterman’s back catalogue.
Much better than anyone ever imagined (including the band themselves, apparently), Red Flag is an assured and enjoyable reunion record, which suggests that the third time really is the charm.
_ Edwin McFee // April 8