Album Review: All Saints – Red Flag

All Saints Red Flag

All Saints still master the art of pop on comeback album
While bands like Little Mix and Fifth Harmony keep up the chart success of the girl groups these days, there is always room for stars of the past to make a comeback. Ten years after their not so successful third album, the ladies of All Saints decided to give it one more go. It seems, this time around they are not in it for the money, but to actually deliver a comeback album they can be proud of. The release of Red Flag shows the ladies of All Saints still master the art of pop music!

The big comeback of the British Canadian band that brought us classics like ‘Never Ever’ and ‘Pure Shores’ started with the lead single ‘One Strike‘. The track did not exactly set the charts on fire, but critics were pleasantly surprised by the well produced, infectious little pop tune about the moment Nicole Appleton found out her ex-husband Liam Gallagher cheated on her. This divorce is a recurring theme throughout the record, almost completely co-written by band member Shaznay Lewis. On pop anthem ‘One Woman Man’ they ask the question “Are you ever gonna be a one woman man?” and it is not hard to guess who this track is about. The album deals with love, giving up on love and starting all over from the perspective of women who have seen it all.

In terms of sound Red Flag perfectly balances between current productions and styles and the umistakably 90s feel of their biggest hits. The breezy vibe and soaring melody of ‘Summer Rain’ and the soulful harmonies of ‘Make U Love Me’ could have been part of their first album, but do not sound out of place in this day and age at all. At the same time they experiment with dancehall on the sassy and aggressive ‘Ratchet Behaviour’ and with tribal rhythms and hand claps on the aptly titled ‘Tribal’ and the hypnotic title track ‘Red Flag’. Of course a straightforward pop album is not complete without one or two ballads and while ‘Who Hurt Who’ leans a bit too much on the kitsch side, ‘Fear’ is a powerful anthem that showcases their still perfectly fine vocals and harmonies.

The album’s highlight might be the current single ‘This Is A War’. The moody verses contrast beautifully with the bright and confident chorus. Their vocals still blend into each other perfectly, which creates the same kind of magic that made a classic out of ‘Never Ever’. These ladies did not come back to cash in quickly, but they actually recorded an album that is up there with their best work. Although Red Flag might be criminally overlooked by everyone who grew up after the 90s, Natalie, Nicole, Shaznay and Melanie are more than welcome to come back again, hopefully sooner than after another ten years!

Must listen: One Strike, This Is A War, Fear, Summer Rain, Red Flag

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