Less sculpted than Steps, not as gaudy as Destiny's Child, and, if you can believe it, far more of an awkward, provocative outfit than just about any logical peer, the Sugababes didn't so much usher in the suffused post-millennium market for myopic pop as give it a much-needed kiss of nubile soul. Clearly 16-year-olds Keisha Buchanan, Siobhan Donaghy, and Mutya Buena have been weaned on Madonna and Aaliyah records, taking from them their feminist assurance and passion, but they remind us of a valuable lesson -- if you're going to hew melodious, structurally accessible songs out of cold dub and rock, it really helps to use actual feeling and sincerity, and hang on to every shaky personal trait that got you there in the first place. From the Reebok Matterhorn-rumble of "Overload" to the petal-plucking Bangles cheval glass of "Soul Sound" and on to the nocturnal, string-doused pop-wonderland-with-trenchant-garage-middle-bit that's "Run for Cover," the jitters of youth are here though tempered by shrewd ambition and a clever and unpredictable production aesthetic. As alarmingly undeveloped LPs go, One Touch is everything a post-Spice Girls teen pop debut should be -- discreet, adolescent, and as unstudied as a late-night phone call about boys. ~ Dean Carlson, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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