Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 08:53 UK

Girls Can't Catch - but can they chart?

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Girls Can't Catch - Keep Your Head Up

By Mark Savage
BBC News entertainment reporter

Girls Can't Catch
Girls Can't Catch: (L-R) Daizy, Jess and Phoebe

Does the UK need another girl band?

The people at Fascination Records certainly think so, and have put together a feisty trio called Girls Can't Catch (we'll come back to the name later) just 12 months after they launched The Saturdays.

Not wishing to tinker with a successful formula, they apparently photocopied The Saturdays' 2008 itinerary and stuck it into the diaries of newcomers Phoebe Brown, Daizy Agnew and Jess Stickley.

They were sent off to support label mates Girls Aloud on their UK tour, popped up at London's G-A-Y club night, and filmed cameos for Hollyoaks.

Out this week, their debut single Keep Your Head Up is a carbonated pop anthem courtesy of Kylie tunesmith Chris Braide.

An album, due later this year, features tracks by former All Saint Shaznay Lewis and perky pop princess Pixie Lott.

X Factor past

"Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves and think: 'Oh God, is this actually happening to us?'" says Brown.

The raven-haired 18-year-old has good reason to question her luck, having tried and failed to find fame with X Factor contestants Hope in 2007.

Girls Can't Catch
The girls were "on the outskirts of the industry for a long time," says Brown

"I was in Hope for a year-and-a-half after X Factor," she divulges.

"We supported Westlife and Boyzone; we recorded a song with Pharrell Williams; we were working every day.

"But at the end it had become quite tedious. In your heart, you know when something's not working."

The opportunity to join Girls Can't Catch came when Hope was still a going concern. Brown, who is generally chatty and forthright, clams up as she recalls the day she told her bandmates she was quitting.

"It was hard... It was very hard," she says, hesitantly. "Obviously. A lot of pressure.

"But if someone else was offered this, I don't think they could turn it down."

The transition to a new band did not come easily, however.

"At the beginning, it took a while to gel with two people who were, essentially, strangers," Brown admits.

"It was quite weird. It all happened very quickly. But luckily there are no bitches in the band!"

Rejected names

With the group assembled and a tour booked, the pressure was on to find a name.

Girls Can't Catch had been rejected as a moniker for The Saturdays - but it rose to the top of the pile second time around.

It's undeniably awkward but, says Brown, it could have been much worse: Discarded options included The Decibels, Hoodie Love and (this is not a joke) Gracie La La.

If fans were ambivalent about the name, however, they were up in arms about the girls' debut video - which inexplicably sees them playing croquet on a rubbish dump.

There's a difference between being opinionated and being a bully
Pheobe Brown, Girls Can't Catch

Influential music website Popjustice even ran a six-week campaign lampooning the "slightly peculiar" clip.

"We didn't want to be in a club dancing up against the walls," protests Brown.

"The director mentioned films like The Lost Boys and Heathers - taking up that rebellious attitude. So, yes, it's a bit different.

"In my dreams did I think I'd film my first video on a rubbish dump? No, but it's worked out really well. I love it now."

Luckily, the internet storm has passed the band by - thanks to some timely advice from a more experienced colleague.

"Cheryl Cole said to us: 'Don't read about yourself on the internet', which I strongly believe in," says Brown.

"When I was on X Factor, I was a bit naive and started to read forums that were talking about me - and it was really upsetting.

"Some people feel very passionate about music, and girl bands in particular," she continues. "But there's a difference between being opinionated and being a bully."

"It taught me to stay away."

Chart dilemma

Girls Can't Catch
Daizy (centre) was briefly part of R&B quartet The 411

But to get back to the original question, does the UK want - or even need - a new girl group?

The last 12 months have seen the Sugababes release the lowest-selling album of their career, while Girls Aloud's most recent single became their first to miss the top 10.

Girls Can't Catch may not be immune to the public's shifting tastes. According to early sales figures, their debut will land inside the top 20 this weekend - but only just.

That could set alarm bells ringing at girl group HQ, although first week chart placings are less important in the era of digital downloads (it took eight weeks for Ne-Yo's Closer to reach number one, for instance).

But if the Girls Can't Catch project collapses like a bad souffle, at least the trio have been provided with some handy advice in the lyrics to their latest single.

"No matter how hard it gets, my mama always says to keep your head up."

Keep Your Head Up is out now on Fascination Records.



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