Taller in More Ways

Studio Album by released in 2005

Taller in More Ways review

Fourth album from Sugababes and another pop/R&B masterpiece

Sugababes have solidified themselves as one of the most popular bands worldwide and with good reason. While sacrificing a little integrity to their corporate bosses with a couple radio songs, their albums were always rich with flavor and originality. With Mutya Buena announcing her shock pregnancy in 2004 time looked finally up for UK pop's finest girl group. However, the trio never had any intention of calling it day working on this album up to just weeks before Mutya gave birth to daughter Tahlia. The result is another pop/R&B masterpiece called Taller In More Ways. Amazingly, for the girls who have just turned 20, Taller In More Ways is the fourth album from Sugababes, which is three more than most pop bands seem to manage these days. It is without doubt their most accomplished and complete sounding album so far, while always retaining that pop Midas touch. They’ve quietly become the biggest pop act in the UK – lead single Push The Button has been number one for three weeks, and prevented Robbie Williams’ comeback single Tripping from reaching the top spot despite his effort receiving considerably more airplay and publicity. Trumping Robbie in the charts after more than a year away suggests that Sugababes might just be absolutely massive.

Plenty of different styles and influences

Taller In More Ways sees the girls moving into more sophisticated pop territory whilst still keeping hold of the experimental edge for which they have become known. They take some daring chances with their music veering off "the formula" and it works. There are a couple less swoonsome ballads than one might imagine and more up-tempo floor-fillers. Chart-topping single Push The Button for all it's sensuality is by no means the best song on here. Gotta Be You and It Ain't Easy find the girls experimenting skillfully with crunk; while Joy Division is a strange but interesting fusion of rock and dub. Red Dress comes from the same hit-breeding stable as Round Round and Hole In The Head. A cover of Animotion's '80s classic, Obsession, sounds destined to give the girls another No.1 sometime soon but the album's real highlight is a track called Ugly. It's Sugababes' very own take on TLC's Unpretty, with sweeping acoustic guitars and lyrics girls across the world will empathize with. While there are plenty of different styles and influences on show the thing that holds it all together is the trio's signature harmonies. Their voices remain some of the most listenable in pop, individually recognizable even when stitched together in tight harmonies: Keisha's honeyed purr, Mutya's slightly hoarse, unexpectedly light tones and Heidi's full-throated Las Vegas diva number.

Taller In More Ways seems certain to continue Sugababes’ success

On the whole Taller In More Ways is a pleasing collection of tracks that suitably cater for any mainstream mood. What's more, it includes the presence of some of the best writers and producers on the mainstream circuit. Sugababes have collaborated, for the first time on the new record, with Dallas Austin (TLC, Madonna, Pink), Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Britney Spears), and Cathy Dennis (Kylie). Mutya, Keisha and Heidi have also continued their long-standing working relationship with Brian Higgins, Cameron McVeigh (All Saints) and Johnny Rockstar (Robbie Williams). Dallas Austin supplies some of the best moments here, particularly the opening tracks Push The Button and Gotta Be You. Even the one track you may have thought to be a cry from the heart of the teenage girl, Ugly, is written by Austin alone. Sugababes are very, very good at what they do, and what they do is make stylish, catchy pop music with wide-ranging appeal. Taller In More Ways seems certain to continue their success by maintaining the rigorous quality control they’ve kept to thus far. The result is a fourth strong album in a row, a mixture of upbeat grooves, dark early eighties style pop, deeply soulful ballads and edgy R&B.