Dangerous and Moving (IndieLondon)

Time of publication: 13.10.2005
Remember t.A.T.u (or Tatu), the Russian duo who took the pop world by storm with their raunchy, lesbian-chic antics with All The Things She Said?

Well Julia Volkova and Lena Katina are back with a brand new album of Trevor Horn produced pop tracks that update the template quite impressively (for a pop record) in places.

Recent single, All About Us, emerged like a statement of intent from the girls, who pride themselves in doing things their own way (they memorably refused to perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards unless they were allowed to use real guns).

It was punchy, poppy and vocally reminiscent of the soaraway success of their most famous record.

The rest of the long-player follows along in pretty similar fashion, featuring pulse-pounding beats, vocal trade-offs and Russian influenced rhythms that have all been honed to appeal to the chart brigade.

That's not really a recommendation, of course, given that many tracks tend to blend into each other in a better-than-average Eurovision Song Contest sort of way.

But there is the odd surprise in store that just occasionally elevates the album above the hum-drum sound of mainstream pop.

Friend or Foe is enlivened somewhat by bass from Sting, while the oddly-titled Gomenasai features a curiously sweet strings arrangement from Richard Carpenter that somehow lends it a touch of class the rest of the album doesn't always deserve.

Indeed, were you to listen to Gomenasai as a one-off you might be forgiven for thinking it had been taken from a West End show, rather than a pop record.

That same sweetness extends to Craving (I Only Want What I Can't Have), which slowly builds into a sweeping ballad incorporating several changes of pace and melodic influences.

We Shout even dares to rip off the Madonna era of Frozen during its haunting, echoed opening moments and subtle beats before breaking out into an electronic ballad that's ok in its own right.

The girls resort to their mother tongue for Obezyanka Nol, which is sure to go down a storm in their homeland, but which does at least add an interesting different take on the pop thing.

It's a description that befits much of the album given that it bears all the hallmarks of a traditional pop record (courtesy of Horn's presence) while offering something to talk about as well.

It's not a bad effort for something so mainstream.

Jack Foley
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