When we think of girl-bands, we tend to think of a group of ladies in their early 20s crooning about their love lives whilst battling with each other for the role of lead vocalist (think Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls or Vanessa from The Saturdays).
In modern times, the girls of the music world seem to have lost the ‘power’ that was developed so wonderfully 90s pop princesses, the Spice Girls.
However, urban trio Stooshe are bringing the ‘girl power’ back on their debut record London With the Lights On; a 20-track collection housing a whole host of music styles from motown to hip-hop.
Hailing from London, Courtney, Karis and Alexandra’s gorgeous vocals entwine surprisingly well with their in-song cockney narratives, a feature that clearly distinguishes them from the masses of drab girl groups who’ve appeared in the past decade. Such narrative is particularly noticeable on first single from the album ‘Love Me’, featuring Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy. As perhaps the most chaotic number on the LP, it is choc-full of censored innuendo following a record label demand for a clean version of the previously explicit track formerly known as ‘F*ck Me’.
‘Slip’ and ‘Black Heart’ bring the motown genre bang up to date, with stunning longitudinal notes and soulful harmonies that are reminiscent of classic 60s groups such as The Supremes. Meanwhile, three-and-half minute ditty ‘My Man Music’ audibly illustrates Stooshe’s reggae influences, along with their ability to write an insanely catchy chorus; it’s a guaranteed earworm.
‘See Me Like This’ similarly takes the listener back into the world of motown with swaying beats and the most delicious group vocals, whilst ‘Fly Again’ doesn’t sound a million miles away from a release by 2012 superstar Emeli Sande. It’s a luscious ballad that provides a gentle interlude into concluding track ‘Turning Me On’.
It is a little disappointing that the trio’s cover of TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ didn’t make the final cut, but those spending a little extra on the deluxe edition of LWTLO are instead treated to modernised covers of Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue’s ‘Whatta Man’, and Ini Kamoze’s ‘Here Comes The Hotstepper’.
All in all the LP feels like a Brixton-based musical, that tells the tale of three girls on their journey to the peak of music stardom. As such, it seems only suitable for the girls to share some behind-the-scenes mistakes and highlights in the form of ‘Outtakes’. It’s a wonderful touch, as fans get to hear the creative process that has pushed back the album’s release date on two occasions; in November 2012 and March of this year.
Stooshe’s delayed debut – overall – is current, eclectic and raw all whilst offering acknowledgements to the global girl groups that came before them. Most of all, the trio have proved that good things really do come to those who wait – however teasing the wait may be.
4 stars ★★★★✰