I’m still not quite sure what to make of SoundGirl.
On the one hand, the first two tracks that surfaced on their SoundCloud, “The Game” and “Walking On Air,” were some of the most promising material I heard from a new artist last year.
Initially, SoundGirl evoked the things I loved most about the Sugababes â€” not the recent Heidi-Amelle-Jade Sugababes, but the Keisha-Mutya-Siobhan Sugababes of yesteryear. That is, SoundGirl seemed like three lovely teenagers making moody pop music, rather than three fame-starved inflatable sex dolls who happen to sing and dance. (Sorry, loves.)
“The Game” and “Walking On Air” are both likable urban-pop confections; and like the early image of Sugababes, the SoundGirl aesthetic is refreshingly age-appropriate. Izzy-B, Olivia, and Little Nikki (bear with me, folks) feel like real girls, without the hyper-sexual, focus-grouped cynicism that has accompanied acts like Jessie J or Girlicious.
But their first single, “I’m the Fool,” throws something of a wrench into the mix. Co-written by frequent Xenomania scribe Miranda Cooper, the track is a boisterous, goofy romp featuring a terrific earworm of a chorus.
And yet, “I’m the Fool” leaves me puzzled. A lackluster guest spot from an off-brand Tinie Tempah-esque rent-a-rapper named Twizzle (really?) makes the whole affair feel sort of ponderous, and a burst of pop culture references that should evoke the nonsensical whimsy of the Almighty Aloud just feels a little sad and forced. (“This ain’t Glee, I’m back on The Wire, if this was Twilight I’d be a vampire.” Wut?)
In a savvy marketing move, the group is giving away “I’m the Fool” free via their official website, and touring in support of established artists like Pixie Lott and Justin Bieber should help build the girls some hype â€” but I think only time will tell if SoundGirl really are the second coming of Sugababes.