I can say with some confidence that few could have been more excited about 90s favourites All Saints’ reunion announcement on 1st January 2016. It was like all my dreams came true at once.
In their glory days of 1997-2001 they were staple hitmakers in the UK, scoring five number one singles and 8 top ten singles overall, including seminal hits such as “Pure Shores”, “Never Ever” and “Black Coffee”. They were the cooler, edgier alternative to the Spice Girls and we loved them for it. Khaki pants and all.
It is with an acute pain that I remember their first reunion in 2006. While comeback single “Rock Steady” did become a big hit in the UK, its parent album Studio 1 belly flopped rather heavily and the kibosh was quickly put on the reunion. Melanie Blatt later announced that she did it just for the money anyway. Great….not the glorious reunion we wanted.
I can hardly believe that it’s been 10 years since their first reunion but, however long it’s been, I was biting my nails in anticipation at their new stuff. Not only do we get a brand new single “One Strike”, but a whole album’s worth of material Red Flag. How would they sound? Could they compete with 2010s girlbands such as Little Mix? But something about this time round had me even more confident that they could achieve the fabled comeback a la Take That that all 90s popbands dream of. That’s because I knew they were doing it for the right reasons. For the love of it, as it were. The girlband reported in an interview that the process of making the album was so fun that it took longer than it should have (DAMMIT!) and that “One Strike” was written about Nicole Appleton’s very public breakup with Liam Gallagher in 2013. It’s always great when it gets personal.
“One Strike” debuted on Radio 2 this morning and OH THE HARMONIES! It’s quintessentially All Saints but with an updated more bassy sound which fits right in with today’s popular music. The girls sound battle ready with military drums and fighting talk style lyrics. But they have retained the ethereal, disconnected vocals of their Saints and Sinners album (“Pure Shores”, “Dreams”) which helps distinguish the track as completely ALL SAINTS. All it took was “One Strike” and they’re back.