Review: “Angels With Dirty Faces” by Sugababes (CD, 2002)

Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown is Angels With Dirty Faces – the 2002 second album by Sugababes. Is this album an angelic sound, or is too freaky to listen to? Read on…

Sugababes - Angels With Dirty Faces (2002)
Sugababes’ 2002 album ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’

This album has been a curiosity to me for a long time, as it is seemingly the most donated to charity shop album I’ve ever seen – in close competition with Travis‘ album The Man Who.

So, with an aim to try to discover what is actually wrong with it, I rescued it from a pound store.

This 14 track album introduced the second incarnation of Sugababes, with new recruit (and former-Atomic KittenHeidi Range.

The album begins, as did the run of singles, with Freak Like Me – a cover of Adina Howard‘s debut single, using a sample of Gary Numan‘s hit Are Friends’ Electric. This catchy combination unsurprisingly gave the Sugababes a number one.

Blue is the second track here, and is a light, up-tempo, catchy track, and an excellent bridge into the third song, and their second hit single Round Round. The latter is a masterpiece.

Stronger, the third single (and a double-A with the album’s title track), reminds me musically of Gabrielle‘s Should I Stay, and something you’d find from Massive Attack. It’s slower, with rich sweeping strings, and gives all three the chance to let their vocals shine.

Supernatural is the first track here to feel like a bit of a filler. Whilst it’s fairly catchy, musically it doesn’t stand up equally with the rest of the album so far.

The other part of the Stronger single, and title track Angels With Dirty Faces follows, and returns them to form. This track was promoted with the TV animation series The Powerpuff Girls, who also feature on the single sleeve. The track is musically on track, but the song title feels a bit cumbersome for the vocals in the chorus.

Virgin Sexy is not a good song. It feels like a bad b-side.

Thankfully the Sting sampled Shape (his Shape Of My Heart is sampled) comes along, which is perfect timing, and his vocals sit perfectly alongside those of the Sugababes. Thankfully this did become a single.

Just Don’t Need This is a brilliant track – again using sweeping strings. We’re then into No Man No Cry, which is one of the weaker tracks here, followed by Switch – a fun, catchy, track, with a good up-tempo feeling.

The twelfth track, More Than A Million Miles is a lovely track – with a great beat, and guitar hook.  The vocal melody is mellow but perfectly formed. In a way, this is kind of the end of the album, but the acoustic version of a track called Breathe Easy just brings the tempo down. Again this allows all tree to showcase their vocal harmonies. If this was the end, then it would be perfectly placed.

Then, just to remind you that these are the Sugababes, an uninspired titled, but nice (more bass-y) Alternative Mix of Round Round ends the album.

Sugababes’ lead single ‘Freak Like Me’


Essentially, I now know why it is in every charity store and pound store – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s simply because it sold so many copies, or that stores bought a lot of stock, meaning that there’s just a higher chance of finding it.

Having assumed it was rubbish, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that it is brilliant. Get it in your ears.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 2002 UK CHART POSITION: #2, certified 3x Platinum.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1 (from a Poundland store)

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