Girls Aloud

Out Of Control

With a rock’n’roll album climate where five decent-ish tracks and five unfinished B-side attempts means a knighthood, things like guitars, moshpits and artists writing their own material seem increasingly superfluous when in search of that rare beast, a proper song. ‘The Show’, ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’, ‘Sexy! No No No…’ and of course, last year’s best single (sorry, ‘Golden Skans’!), ‘Call The Shots’. It’s a read ’em and weep situation.

The enslaving combination of Xenomania’s production house – the UK charts’ answer to Sauron from The Lord Of The Rings – and five inexplicably likeable tabloid linchpins has ruled the British hit parade with an iron heel since they won Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. Album – you’re actually not going to believe this – five has Xeno mainman Brian Higgins’ gratuitous gorging of styles and tightly bound swathes of sound firmly in place. ‘Love Is The Key’ is a perversely busy beast, Gregorian choirs paving the way for hoedown guitars fused to groaning electro keys. ‘Call The Shots 2’ – aka ‘The Loving Kind’ – proves to be a letdown sequel. Their link-up with the Pet Shop Boys is soap-strings, hi-NRG pumps and wistful wails, with a damp towel of a chorus.

It’s the cutesy Abba-esque mum-dancing of ‘Rolling Back The Rivers’ and the sky-scraping invisibility of ‘Untouchable’’s post-Ibiza power-balladeering, though, that really flexes their superhuman pop muscles. Not their best, but still more consistent than any British indie album released this year.


Jaimie Hodgson


Terry Gilliam: “We’re doomed – what is going on with the world?”

The brain behind some of cinema's craziest epics talks climate change, Adolf Hitler, Brexit Britain – and getting his big break with Terry Jones

Courteeners’ Liam Fray: “The band is my life. When it’s not going great, my life’s not going great”

Fray on the road through darkness that led to new album 'More. Again. Forever.'

Savages’s Jehnny Beth tells us how David Bowie and ‘Peaky Blinders’ shaped her wild solo album

"In my core I felt that there was something that I hadn’t done yet – and that was this record"