A1

A1

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AllMusic Review by

In their efforts to conquer the American pop scene, perhaps this quartet of London lads doesn't realize their name is the same as one of our famous steak sauces (A1). Hopefully, they won't be inundated by questions about it. But that's not their real competition. Bolstered by the huge European smash "Caught in the Middle," these guys are definitely going to compete for chart space with *N'Sync and The Backstreet Boys. Their voices harmonize magically together and their hooks are equally infectious. As hard as it may seem to believe, however, they're not a zillion dollar packaging coup, assembled as a product; they met four years ago while pursuing separate careers in London, and they write or co-write all their material. This seven-track sampler album features selected highlights from their U.K. releases "Here We Come," "The A-List" and "Make It Good." The song "Make It Good" offers a soaring mix of their soothing vocal presence, a string section, and even a hint of Celtic influence. "When I'm Missing You" is a bit more acoustic-based. Mark Read takes the lead on "Everytime" and shows a strong leadership ability, even if otherwise the vocals are mostly done in unison. As the songs are friendly, of-the-moment pop, it's hard to predict staying power. But being a legit group, and strong songwriters, is a good start.

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