City Girls: Debut
I guess you could say that the City Girls already had something of an advantage from the start, with an experienced manager and production team behind them. Both these things have brought the band and their songs to the attention of industry publication Music Week, and led to the 3 piece girl group supporting the likes of The Pussy Cat Dolls and Beverley Knight. They’ve also been lucky enough to appear in various high profile marketing campaigns. But I’m not here to talk about marketing, and their previous success stories (great though they are). My task today is to review their first album, aptly titled Debut.
The twelve tracks on this album feature a slightly underground, grimy R&B vibe, electronic, or pop/soul sounds. The vocals are led by singer Sheena Rowe, who adapts well to the different tempos, and mix of urban flavours in the songs, and is complemented by the backing vocals from the other two City Girls.
For me the album doesn’t get off to the best start, as the warped/electro vocal effects on ‘People Always Say They Love You’ are a bit overpowering. That said, the harmonies, and Girls Aloud style attitude of this song do help redeem it. I happen to be a big fan of Dirty Dancing, and would recommend turning up the volume on track two, ‘Dance Like Swayze’. I’ve never heard a song written about this before, which is a plus, and it builds up nicely into some catchy hooks. While this track is definitely more commercial, some like the ambient, mid-tempo ‘Tell Me Why’ are more for the club/dance markets.
Although comparisons are sometimes frowned upon, there are hints of American soul, heading in the direction of Destiny’s Child towards the end of this album. Ballads were not something I was expecting after all the dance tracks, but they are definitely the highlights of ‘Debut’ for me. ‘12 Red Roses’ has a very well written introduction, and lyrics that are ideal for summer (a British one especially), there’s also a few Garage style beats in places. The track ‘Warmth’ which showcases a pure and emotive vocal, and melodic R&B beat, and the smooth chilled out vibe on ‘Unbreakable’.
Being honest, it wasn’t just the start, but the end of the album that pulled things down a little for me, partly because I just wasn’t sure what to make of the mix of urban underground, and what can only be described as a throwback to Queens ‘We Will Rock You’. That said, the rest of the album does display some promise and potential, and although a little generic, still has the City Girls stamp on it. If you like a mix of youthful dance/pop, mature R&B, and summery soul, then this is the C.D for you.
I think ‘Debut’ may appeal more to a teen audience, though you never know, you might catch the parents singing and dancing along to the odd song as well!
‘Debut’ is released on download on August 2nd. For more on this funky and fresh girl group, visit www.citygirlsofficial.com.