The mid-nineties were great for pop music – with a plethora of groups to choose from. Amongst those were today’s POP RESCUE, plucked from a fate unknown in a £1 store – On The Loose! by quartet Deuce.
Dressed in brightly coloured clothes and smiles, this equally measured male and female, blond and brunette, foursome (Kelly, Craig, Lisa and Paul) stormed the charts with three singles and this album.
The album opens with their debut single Call It Love and then with what became their third one On The Bible (with its great video) – these two perfect pop gems should leave the listener pumped for a similarly pop-fuelled ride.
Listening to the album now in 2014, I can see that O’Keefe’s vocals really stands out on the stronger pop tracks. I think the three singles are still as strong as ever, but her vocals seem too strong for the weaker songs.
Of the eleven tracks, it starts off strong, fades a little, then gets boosted by I Need You which is an absolute belter of a track.
This acts as an island though, and the album fades away again until the disappointing Kiss It ending.
I don’t know whether the London Records label had intended to take them all the way to a full album, but it feels like they didn’t. Giving the group a chance to co-write was great (I’ll Be There For You, Let’s Call It A Day,and Kiss It) but maybe not best for this album. Perhaps those should have been b-sides.
Tracks like Talk To Me seem a little drowned by O’Keefe’s vocal power (something that’s probably easily solved in production), and she’s completely wasted on tracks like Kiss It which almost feels like the rest of the group recorded it whilst she was momentarily left the room.
Where are Deuce now?
The group disbanded in 1995, after lead singer O’Keefe decided to leave. The fourth single from On The Loose! was meant to be Let’s Call It A Day, which ironically didn’t get released because of her departure.
After a brief attempt by Mike Stock (ex of Stock/Aitken/Waterman hit-making powerhouse) to keep them going in 1996, which included a focus on Australia, the band continued to fragment until they disbanded.
Deuce also appeared on The Childliner’s charity all-star christmas single The Gift Of Christmas, and a track on the Coronation Street album called Life On The Street.
Kelly owns/owned a restaurant, Craig now regularly turns up on TV and in theatre as an actor, Lisa is now a make-up artist and wife of TV host Ant McPartlin, and Paul has gone on to have a successful songwriting career.
Battling one-hit-wonders Love City Groove (with their eponymous titled song) with I Need You was unfortunate.
I suspect that if Deuce had been able to reach Eurovision, then their pop career would have been elevated, and the UK’s Eurovision track record would have been just a little more rosy. Scooch, who seemingly stepped straight into Deuce’s shoes when they departed pop, did manage to reach Eurovision.
This album is a lovely collection of pop gems, and stands as a marker for 90s pop, both musically and stylistically. The singles are magnificent, and Deuce deserved far more success than they scored.
They deserve a long-awaited reunion.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1995 UK CHART POSITION: #18
- POP RESCUE COST: £1 (from a Poundland)