Pop music geeks have been in a tizzy over the reunited Mutya Keisha Siobhan (aka the original Sugababes line-up aka the Origibabes aka the Pop Reunion Nobody Expected) and in a way it's hard not to blame them. The Sugababes may now be tarnished by line-up changes and an ever changing sound but the bones of what their voices did together on those early songs still sound fresh and interesting.
The group's first release proper as MKS was rather brilliant Flatline which sadly didn't set the charts on fire. Given how the girls have said they reformed for themselves it's easy to see why they might want to be something of a cult proposition but in a climate when Pop Acts That Are Pop Acts But Everyone Pretends Aren't like HAIM and Chvrches are flourishing it doesn't seem odd to think MKS could have a broader appeal.
The album is due early next year (This Billboard article has some interesting detail on tracks on it including a track from Sia) and while the band performed some new stuff at a gig in August, this acoustic session that's just appeared online is a reminder of just how promising this whole affair could be, offering up a forgotten Sugababes gem, a promising new song and a cover that offers up something fresh.
Caught A Moment is a song from well into Heidi Range's tenure as Siobhan Donaghy's replacement and I still feel a bit bad for how Range has fared in all this (Given how she was involved with many of the band's biggest hits and has a beautiful voice). However, Donaghy really works her magic on this one, the emotional tone she nails really lifts the song which holds up well all these years later (it's ten years old now! Imagine).
New track No Regrets is all moody harmonies and haunting, uplifting lyrics. The back and forth of each girl having a verse to shine and blending their voices is hypnotic and hopefully the album version of this will pack just as much of a punch.
The real standout however is their take on Lorde's current hit Royals. The New Zealand teen's take down of the kind of imagery we're feed through pop music has become as huge as the very songs it skewers and it's viewpoint feels like a good fit for a reformed girl group who probably know the truth behind music video clichés. Covering hit songs is the oldest trick in the "Get Buzz For Your Act" book but adding harmonies and an acoustic backing to a song as slinky and sparse as Royals is a great way to offer a new take. They also seem to relish singing the song and it feels like a take that could sit confidently beside the original.
This album release can't come soon enough.
Mutya Keisha Siobhan's first single Flatline is on iTunes now.