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Monday, 26 March, 2001, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Hear'Say play it safe
Pop band Hear'Say
Hear'Say: Debut album, Popstars, is set for number one
By BBC News Online's Ian Youngs

What do you want to know about this group that you don't already?

They are young, beautiful, can sing, dance and keep smiling when most of us would have cracked up. It is a tough job, but someone has got to do it.

Their album - unlike the TV show that made them stars - contains no surprises. If you are already a fan, then you are going to love it.

There is nothing to offend anybody except the fact that it is so inoffensive

If you are not a fan, just try to ignore this CD on your way into the record shops - although that may be hard to do. And don't worry. All the hype will blow over - in a few years.

Starting with mega smash hit single Pure and Simple, Popstars begins as it means to go on - sugar-sweet, upbeat and catchy enough to satisfy their already huge legion of fans.

But it is not inspired or different enough to make any lasting musical mark in the great scheme of things.

In fact, apart from a few modern beats in the background, this album could have been recorded at any time in the last four decades by any photogenic, teen-aimed group who are in it more for the stardom than the musical credibility.

Hear'Say: Is their music here to stay?
The songs are traditional in the way that good, old-fashioned harmonies, pleasant keyboards and slowly-strummed guitars dominate, and there is nothing to offend anybody except the fact that it is so inoffensive.

There are none of your robotic vocals or funky, get-up-and-dance production mixes that have become commonplace at the top of the charts. It is slow and safe.

And apart from Pure and Simple, there are few tracks that have the ultra-catchy tunes that would get even non-fans humming.

The 15 tracks let Myleene, Kym, Suzanne, Noel and Danny share vocals - and their voices are, as always, impeccable. And even if they weren't, the smooth production would have rendered any flaws unnoticeable.

Pop conveyer belt

Popstars will do nothing to persuade their critics that they are any more than just another harmless manufactured act - even if they can actually sing.

There is nothing to suggest that they are going to do anything but follow the standard pop machine conveyer belt - sell stacks of CDs, then lose their shine and eventually their place in the spotlight.

Musically, it is unadventurous factory-farmed fodder - which is obviously what they wanted. Something sweet, sticky and safe.

Enjoy it until the next hyped starlets come along.

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