GIRLBANDS: THE NEW ARRIVALS

Welcome to the party: The Ultra Girls, The Stunners, Beach Girls 5, The Scarlettes and A Girl Named Alice. Ever since Popshow at Madam Jojo's (a show that featured two of the aforementioned acts) I have wanted to write-up something around girlbands. Thing is, the delightful Jessica of http://tmbpop.blogspot.com/ has pretty much covered similar ground in her recent post so go there to read her brilliant insights on up and coming girlbands.

Part of my reasons for writing this article is my longstanding love for girlbands, something which I examined in the three-month-long exploration of the genre a few years back and which of course resulted in the branching off of a spin-off blog to Dontstopthepop called SaturdayNightDivas, exploring over 100 girlbands. Underlying this article is a creeping feeling that girlbands don't seem to be working out in recent years, especially looking at the UK market. Despite hot music; Despite the brilliant videos and fab styling, the mud ain't sticking. Look at Mini Viva! Look at Girls Can't Catch! Look at the uneasy future of Girls Aloud and The Sirens. Is the genre resting only on the shoulders of The Saturdays? This cannot be! What is going on? It doesn't make any sense. So, here's my take on my five favourite girlbands coming up... it's up to you girls now to take up the baton...

Beach Girls5: USA


From the embers of the girlband Soccx come Beach Girls 5. They've actually been around for some time but have been kept in a holding pattern for ages. They've released a few things already but have only now started to drop amazing tracks like Scratch and are turning major heads. Scratch channels the best of Europop and I can just see the girls, despite coming from the States, wooping top scores at next year's Eurovision Song Contest. What I love about Beach Girls5 is that they're presenting a panel of pop brilliance that doesn't see them suddenly coming out as five girls that didn't quite make the Pussycat Doll auditions. What I am trying to say is that the USA doesn't really do girlbands all that well. What they excel at is providing girlbands with top tunes and put them in slinky suspenders. All fine and (randy) dandy. However, as such, the recent glut of American girlbands tend to be a bit oversexualized and are made to look like nothing but objects. It's not about fun. Beach Girls5 are a million miles away from Pussycat Dolls/Danity Kane. It's about the music. And this I love.

The Ultra Girls: UK


The hottest new girlband in the UK are The Ultra Girls. They are the girlband that are gonna knock The Saturdays into next week. Or rather into yesterday. I saw the girls at Popshow recently and was absolutely blown away by the choreography, energy and vocals. I'll get onto the music later. As you might have guessed from my Beach Girls5 section, I have a slight issue with girlbands who've taken the Pussycat approach to pop. I come from the school of Spice Girls, tracksuit bottoms, boobtubes, buffalo shoes and high kicks. This is my girlband training and education. The bottom line is about having a laugh. Their message isn't about simperingly appealing to a man as the epicentre of a woman's universe, instead targeting the fun-loving woman and her best mates. This is what Wannabe, I Know Where It's At & Right Now were all about – debuts by Britains strongest girlbands ever: Spice Girls, All Saints and Atomic Kitten respectively. This is where The Ultra Girls took me with their performance: Girls Will Be Girls has instant girlpower anthem stamped all over it. It is turbo pop at its finest, strongest and most potent. Watching Lucy, Laura, Lauren and Amy performing it at Popshow I was transported right back to 1997 when pop was above all about having a good time with friends. Behind the music is Kylie's MD Steve Anderson who wrote the title track to Atomic Kitten's amazing album Feels So Good, so clearly a man who knows what will work and what won't. The Ultra Girls are the Spice Girls for 2010.

A Girl Called Alice: UK



I also saw this group at popshow. The styling really took me back to the confused multiplicity of the outfits worn by the Spice Girls when they first launched, long before Top Of The Pops magazine gave them those nicknames. A Girl Named Alice have a great look: everyday girl basically mixed-in with a pinch of jumble-sale, but not overdone. I like it. They are accessible, approachable and slightly messy. They look like a laugh (the above image actually reminds me of the very photo that used to feature on the Spice Girls' Club Members' card). Beyond this they've emerged as the natural rivals to The Ultra Girls who absolutely owned the stage on Monday night's Popshow. Seeing as they shared the very same stage, people will naturally start to compare and contrast the two girl groups. Sadly. The thing about A Girl Called Alice is, though they were tight with choreography, vocals and styling, the music kinda refused to convey the energy of what the group are about. You see, like The Ultra Girls I think A Girl Called Alice are also trying to capture that energy of the Spice Girls and Atomic Kitten. And, they actually did. But when I return to their music on their fabulous website, I am left feeling that their music needs to reflect more of what I saw on stage. They need to bubblepop it up a tad more. I am not saying they need to go down a Same Difference route. Quite the contrary. These girls are powerful contenders to both The Ultra Girls and established queens of girlgroups Girls Aloud & The Saturdays but here's the rub, they totally need to up the ante with the music. The music sounded more Americanized than I think they need to be (or should be). When an American girlband, Beach Girls5, sound more European than a British group do, then more recording is required.

The Scarlettes: UK



Not to be confused with another girlband of the same name that's doing the rounds at the moment. The Scarlettes have been in a holding pattern for effing ages. They first appeared on DSTP in 2008! Let me repeat. 2008! That's an amazing amount of time to be "out there" but not releasing a shred of material. Saying that, the music they've recorded so far is absolutely mind-blowingly lush. I just seriously hope they haven't missed the boat. Talk about a delayed arrival. So what do we know about the band? The Scarlettes have gone and created something of a monster sound. The album sounds like they've emerged as the songbirds of a neon disco darkroom where wonderfully sticky sexual meetings are undertaken by yummy bodies underscored with dirty baselines & lashings of lube. If you like the new Scissor Sisters album you will love Scarlettes. They've enrolled the likes of Nerina Pallot & Andy Chatterley (responsible for 'Aphrodite' & 'Better Than Today' on the new Kylie Album), Mathias Wollo & Busbee, Anders Kallmark (Ou Est Le Swimming Pool), Joey Negro, and Marcus J Knight (Ali Love) for their new album. Very exciting and rather amazing. But please, please arrive already!

The Stunners (US)



They've got a name as cheesy as hell but The Stunners are extremely fabulous. Founded by Vitamin C, they are Tinashe Kachingwe, Hayley Kiyoko, Lauren Hudson, Allie Gonino and Marisol Esparza. Their debut album is set to be released in the first quarter of 2011, preceded by their first single, a new version of "Dancin' Around the Truth" from their EP. They had a few issues after they lost the bandmember Kelsey but have dusted themselves down and were the opening act for Justin Bieber's My World Tour for the first twenty dates. Following the end of their run on the My World Tour, they resumed production of their debut album, which is to include production from The Cataracs, Toby Gad, The Writing Camp, Dave Broome, and Mike McHenry.

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15 comments:

Lance said...

A girl called alice-shit name. shit music. great look!!!

stunners-really? nothing stunning about them

Beach Girls5-awful name. sound amazing.

ultra girls-awful name. but then again i always thought spice girls was a crap name for a girlband so what do i know.

James said...

fuck me

i love the ultra girls!

little question

when are we likely to buy their album?

they won't be in delaylandhell like the scarlettes are will they?

Carlos said...

Chico, Las Ultra Girls han robado Edurne! Soy Como Soy es muy grande aquí y ahora. Este es el video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYVsT_DlrkI

The Ultra Girls se ven bien. Pero me encanta Edurne!

Me encanta la canción de BeachGirls5 también! Gracias

EdurneFan said...

Me encanta las Ultra Girls!

I, am a fan of edurne. it is a good thing they have covered her. But it is sadness that she cannot release this song now in England.

This is a shame? But i don't think she is interested in this area?

I think?

Fredrik said...

Hello Bobby

I really like the Ultra Girls. Girl Will be Girls reminds me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDtqlM7idM4 ...like the amazing amazing Girls Will be Girls! ICONIC MOVIE OF THE YEAR

They also look like sluts (the girlband). So, they're onto a winner. Shame about the dodgy name. British girlbands have always had shit names. In Sweden we're no better. All we have is Bliss and excellence? Remember? No? Whatever happened to Excellence? Yeah, no one can really remember them here too.

A girl called Alice: are they serious? They need to change their name now.

Love the Stunners. Love BeachGirls5. How come you've heard Scarlettes music and WE US MERE POP PERVERTS HAVE NOT! WE ARE WILLING TO BUY! IF GIVEN THE CHANCE!

Talking of which, what the hell happened to isabel guzman? SHE REALLY LET ME DOWN. I have dodgy myspace rips of Love Song and Wrapped Up in Plastic and this isn't good enough. She let me down big time. I won't ever put my heart on the line again for a new singer ever again. I even saw her here at Mosebacke. Its made me reluctant to ever support independent pop artists ever again. Especially when MiniViva can't even do it. LamePopWorld.

FairyTaleBoy said...

The ultra girls/girl called alice were awful at popshow.

FairyTaleBoy said...

don't get me wrong!

i disagree with you bobby: the ultra girls were terrible on monday. had that cheap-kings-cross-hookers vibe about them. as for a girl called alice, they just gave off the impression they lived in a skip off the old kent road. 4 bag ladies with skanky lipgloss.

only the scarletts (the girlband present at popshow) had any class. same as the scarlettes you highlight here.

thing is, the music by the ultra girls/a girl called alice is pretty much flawless. just not the performances i saw. :-(

as for beach girls5 and stunners...they just look a bit dead inside. nothing-in-between-the-eyes look. soulless. but thats most american pop acts.

FairyTaleBoy said...

my word verification was "trani"

hilarious.

coldcoldnight said...

Don't wish to rain on your pop parade but i don't rate any of these suggestions.

If you think The Ultra Girls are the next Spice Girls then i suggest you get yourself checked for amnesia as you seem to be forgetting what made the Spice Girls so good.

Leeds Rocks said...

A heads up to you Ultra Girls fans...

This is a little known secret but you guys deserve to know...

The Ultra Girls will be performing in Leeds on October 15th at Leeds Rocks, The Event...

www.leedsrocks.co.uk

Paul said...

I like Ultra Girls but i do wish they had kept their original name of Project A. It has a bit more oomph about it. I love Girls Will be Girls and insist that the b-side be a cover version of the Ordinary Boys, Boys Will Be Boys. Symmetry in pop is very important...

Luke said...

I seriously like A girl called alice! Any deets on when we will realistically be able to buy something from them.

As for Ultra Girls, are they connected in someway to the boyband Ultra? If not i think it goes down as one of the worst names in girlband history (after the dollyrockers). No one in their right mind will buy a cd/download with that name!!!!!

Fredrik said...

Oh, and postscript...how can you NOT mention our very lame Play! They're so shit but you gotta mention!

Robpop said...

People! Thank you for commentating, but remember kids...play nice.

Lance: all acts have name changes. And I for one think Spice Girls was a perfect name for the band. Remember they called Touch. A name like Atomic Kitten is as rare as catching a shooting star. Don't be so harsh...these acts are just starting out ;-)

James: the album will probably arrive mid-2011


Carlos: I cant understand what your saying but what I do comprehend, yes Edurne is the original singer of Girls Will Be Girls (now by Ultra Girls). I love both versions but there is something incredibly punchy about the Ultra Girls version. They totally make it their song. Tho, all strength to Edurne. I've always loved her.

EdurneFan: Glad you like the Ultra Girls! Maybe they will tour Spain eventually! Maybe do duet with Edurne. That would be amazin!

Fredrik: :-( Wish I could say something more.....helpful with regards to Isabel Guzman. She's taking her time is all. And yes, I love Girls will be girls. Love.it!

I hope the scarlettes come out of mothballs asap! Its been way tooooooooo long!

FairyTaleBoy: I didnt see you at popshow, next time...lets try and sip a cup of warm cocoa while we watch the pop kids do their thang and swap notes. I for one feel the Ultra Girls were on total pop turbo during monday's popshow.

For me, the Scarlettx (not to be confused with the Scarletts), were incredibly dull. Reminded me too much of the girlband-that-went-no-where KICK ANGEL.

ColdColdNight: Comment/feedback taken on board and flushed down the dunny. I thought the Ultra Girls were fab. They have a very exciting future ahead of them!

LeedsRocks: thanks for the update!

Paul: ProjectA is a great name isn't it! I get the feeling the Ultra girls just evokes an attitude about the girls and how they feel as a group. As a group of mates. I think. I love Girls Will be Girls too...and i think Boys Will Be Boys...is..a..great...idea....!

Taking it to the next level..I actually think they should do Boys Will Be Boys by Backstreet Boys instead! Soooo retro! IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE

Luke: Yay on your Alice loving! No details at the moment. I am sure they have 2011 in mind.

In no way are they connected to Ultra (just as the Sugababes are not connected to the Sugarcubes) :-)

Luke, i think its a great name! And how do i pine for the dollyrockers!?
Where are they/what are they up2!?!

Ander said...

Hey, What about VENUS from Spain?? :-D