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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reg Flag by All Saints

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Great news: All Saints have a new album out called Red Flag and it is amazing! Go buy it today.

If you need some convincing, we have two reviews of the album! Both Norm and Ally agreed to review the album. And they didn't know the other one was reviewing it. So you get two perspectives!


All Saints – Red Flag
Release date: 8th April 2016

In the summer of 1997 Britain’s coolest girl group All Saints burst onto the music scene with their self-titled debut album, featuring the era-defining number one hits ‘Never Ever’, ‘Under The Bridge’ and ‘Bootie Call’. After racking up two further number ones in 2000 with the William Orbit produced classics ‘Pure Shores’ and ‘Black Coffee’ from second album Saints & Sinners, tensions within the group reached boiling point and the ladies hung up their combats in order to pursue solo ventures.

After sorting out their differences they released their criminally overlooked third album Studio 1 in 2006 which stalled at the lower end of the Top 40, resulting in the group being hastily dropped by Parlophone Records and an abrupt end to their second run. Now, nearly 10 years later and 19 years after their debut, All Saints make a triumphant return with their fourth album Red Flag.

Lead single ‘One Strike’ is an instant All Saints classic. The angelic harmonies that kick in during the first verse instantly evoke memories of ‘Pure Shores’ and the emotive lyrics reinforce what an underrated songwriter Shaznay is. ‘One Woman Man’ is crying out to be the next single with its melodic verses and anthemic chorus. ‘Make U Love Me’ is perhaps the closest this album gets to the All Saints of old and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Saints & Sinners album – it’s no surprise to learn that Shaznay kept this song under wraps for her bandmates.

‘Summer Rain’ showcases Shaznay’s higher vocal register and her ability to write a catchy chorus, whilst the dark and moody ‘This Is A War’ reminds us that All Saints are at their finest when it comes to singing about matters of the heart. ‘Who Hurt Who’ is a gorgeous piano-led ballad and Natalie’s shining moment on the album. ‘Puppet On A String’ takes the tempo right back up and could easily be a Top 10 hit in today’s charts with its catchy hooks and thumping beat. The deep and enchanting ‘Fear’ is one of the album’s highlights and leads us into its exciting and experimental final quarter.

‘Ratchet Behaviour’ is a summery dancehall smash, which needs to be cranked to full volume to be truly appreciated, segueing into the title track ‘Red Flag’ that keeps up the pace with its hard baseline, handclap-led hook and storming chorus. ‘Tribal’ with its worldly atmospheric vibe takes All Saints into uncharted territory, proving that these ladies won’t be satisfied with churning out the same tried-and-tested formula of old. ‘Pieces’ then wraps up the album in suitably epic style with a classic All Saints ballad.

Overall, Red Flag is All Saints most creative and sophisticated body of work and after nearly 20 years in (and out of) the music industry it stands strong as their finest output to date. It’s no wonder that the likes of Coldplay are singing their praises – one thing All Saints has always stood for is quality music and it doesn’t get any better than this. Roll on album #5.

Album review by Norm Hayes (@_Normski)

And now for Ally's review ... a second opinion. 

All Saints - Red Flag (London Records)

Supposedly the cooler rivals to the Spice Girls back in the glory days, I often felt All Saints, as talented as they were, had huge hit singles (including 5 UK #1s) but the albums never really hit the spot, a mishmash of ideas that sagged underneath the hits.

Fast forward to 2016, Two multi-platinum albums & 2006s ill-fated Studio 1 (Which is actually a decent record) behind them, they have defied all expectations of the general public, comebacks either go one way or the other, and this is their "Take That Moment."

To say Red Flag is a great album is a mighty understatement, this album has balls, vulnerability, confidence and most importantly everything else that made them great in the first place the attitude and fire is still there in Shaznay's lyrics, particularly "One Man Woman", whilst only track two on the album is the records centerpiece with its massive tribal beats and colossal chorus, this is destined to be a massive hit single, it also sets the pace for the whole album.

New single "This Is A War" has power too, although not quite enough hook or power as "One Strike" or "One Woman Man" to become a hit in its own right, its fate will be apparent in the coming weeks on the UK Official Chart, where "One Strike" has only started to make waves inside the chart itself.

Elsewhere, "Who Hurt Who" is a delicate slow song that shows theres a lot more to All Saints than confidence or attitude.

Red Flag isn't so much a statement than a triumphant return, a huge welcome back to Shazney & Co. — the best is yet to come.


Album review by Ally Bowie

Red Flag is available on digital outlets everywhere. Buy your copy today! It is fantastic! —Davearama

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