Sugababes seem to go through band members almost as often as Pete Docherty appears in court. The newest face to join the “Most Successful Female Act of the 21st Century” is Amelle Berrabah. With just co-creator Keisha Buchanan remaining as an original band member it is remarkable that the band has lost none of the sound that has kept them at the top of the charts since their first album almost ten years ago. Yes, both Heidi Range and now Berrabah have brought something new to the table, but the key tracks on every album have had the same ingredients that attract both pop fans and even those more discerning audiophiles. Sugababes, while not a cornerstone of any serious collection, still manage to find support from the most unexpected of people and will are leaving an undellible mark on music of the decade.
Previous albums have produced a number of pop classics – from the surprisingly quirky Overload on the debut album, through Freak Like Me and Round, Round on their first truly successful album, Angels with Dirty Faces and on to Hole in the Head and Push the Button on their more recent outings. Each has had a unique, but instantly recognisable, sound. Change opens with About You Now – which also serves as the first single from this release. It’s catchy, but lacks the individuality we’ve become accustomed to with their best singles. It is however, along with Denial and My Love is Pink (which wouldn’t be out of place on a Girls Aloud album) one of the highlights of this album which seems more dominated by the less successful ballads than previous releases. However, despite their dominance, the ballads don’t seem to drag the album down and with only the reggae influenced Backdown being a real disappointment.
Sugababes certainly push the envelop when it comes to pop in the UK and it would be amiss to judge them on their teeny-bopper target audience. Their chart success is deserved and their lyrics, production and overall appearance only serve to bolster an already strong package. The departure of Mutya Buena, arguably their strongest member, could have been the end of the Sugababes her absence on Change is surprisingly unnoticeable and while the album sounds like one of a band trying to find their feet after a big ‘change’, it certainly isn’t lacking by any modern standard.