Okay. We're going to natter about girl-bands and girl-bands sole today because I've just got in from Mutya Keisha Siobhan's first gig in 13 years and I'm a little bit excited about the whole thing.

That band changed my life. I was six years old when One Touch, the only album they made as the original incarnation of the Sugababes, was released and sort of totally flumped, but I remember 'Overload' and all the rest oh so very clearly. Blue Peter, it was. I think that's how I discovered them.

It's difficult to grasp what hooked me at such an age, but there was certainly something cool about the delivery. The three of them fed off of each other and the result was miraculous. Mutya had the powerhouse and could do whatever she wanted with it, Siobhan had the slinkier, subtler tones and Keisha was just perfect. I was addicted and my Dad was sent to pick up the album in Sainsbury's.

This pop music thing was an awesome phenomenon, it seemed to Primary School Me. I mean, the songs were one of a kind: 'Overload' had the best chorus I'd ever heard, 'Same Old Story' the sickest beat (I obviously formulated these ideas with different words back then) and 'Run For Cover' the most urgency.

Not many people really 'got' it though. This was a time, of course, when Evanescence and Eminem were the two names being bandied around by every other so-and-so.

And we all know the story after that: Siobhan left, Heidi joined, the line-up rotated continuously, and things gradually deteriorated. But it wasn't all that simple, come on. Some of their best - maybe even their best - songs came on the follow-up and the follow-up to the follow-up: 'Round Round', 'Freak Like Me', 'Hole In The Head', and so on.

Anyway, last night, they played virtually all my favourites and it was glorious. Here are some observations:

  1. The crowd, 95% male, was the most ecstatic bunch of people I've ever encountered. They knew all the words and were genuinely thrilled and superlative and emotional.
  2. The Origibabes' voices are just as good - if not better - than they ever were. Age has clearly worked its charm.
  3. Despite playing the relatively small Scala venue near King's Cross, these songs and arrangements are definitely ready for much larger halls.
  4. 'Freak Like Me' is still the best Xenomania-penned song ever.
  5. Chanting along to Kendrick Lamar's "drank"s on 'Lay Down in Swimming Pools' is very enjoyable.
  6. The best song off the new album is called 'Today'.
  7. Siobhan is better than Heidi at Heidi's parts on 'Stronger' (soz Heidi).
  8. 'Flatline' is an amazing single. Let's get that to number 1 please.
  9. 'Flatline' is an even more amazing single when merged with a couple of choruses from 'Push The Button'. Rework that please.
  10. 'Flatline' is better when Fred Spector isn't singing backing vocals. Remove those please.

Now to continue my bout of girl-band love, let's turn our attention to two other, up-and-coming groups currently earworming their way around my cerebrum.

The first I'd like to single out are Neon Jungle, a feisty RCA Records foursome who release awesome debut single 'Trouble' on September 1st, which also happens to be the release date for 'Flatline' (oooh). The song is brash and jerky, full of simple but effective hooks ("I don't look for trouble / trouble looks for me"), and an all-round pleasurable pop song. The bassline is sweet and danceable. The video (below) is suitably chaotic. I'm not too sure how things will pan out for the band, but music wise they've got ideas aplenty.


Secondly and lastly, London-based but mostly northern M.O are a more-than-probable success story. Comprising Frankee (who used to be in Mini Viva, of 'Left My Heart In Tokyo' fame) and Nadine and Annie (from the lesser known Duchess), the trio made friends and decided to form a new group called Modus Operandi last year. The songs they've released so far have been marvellous, especially new single 'Hot', released through indie label Operator Records, whose nu-dancehall feel stems from the band members' common Jamaican heritage. I met up with the girls to have a chat earlier this week and the album is apparently ¾ done. They also told me they really look up to the Origibabes. How fitting.