Saturday 20 October 2018

Lights on... but nobody's home

John Meagher

John Meagher

Album Review: Stooshe London with the Lights On (Warner Bros) 2 STARS

Take a look at the three young women in this photograph: Fashion-forward, edgy . . . the epitome of London cool. Or so you might think.

Unfortunately, it's a very different story when you listen to this long-delayed debut. Rather than a daring, attitude-heavy album, we're given a fussy, over-produced and unrelentingly bland collection that frequently strays into muzak territory.

The brainchild of Jo Perry – who's former claim to fame was penning forgettable hits for Peter Andre – Stooshe struggle at every turn to shake off the shackles of their manufactured origins.

Their dated sound is redolent of the slick R&B patented by the likes of En Vogue in the 1990s, but without the panache.

Perry's songwriting shows a distinct improvement on her Andre days, but it's poorly served by the girls' showboating lyrics and the dispiriting, homogenised production from the in-demand duo Future Cut.

The album is saved from turkey status thanks to a handful of promising tunes. The cheerful Black Hearts celebrates the lure of bad boys, while the playful Love Me is a none-too-subtle wish for carnal action. Sample lyric: "Hey diddle diddle, my cat needs a fiddle."

KEY TRACK Black Hearts

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