M People spent a considerable amount of time on Fresco, the group's fourth album, crafting a record that would break them out of the Europop straitjacket and establish them as an international dance-pop act. In other words, Fresco is less a club album than it is a radio record, filled with carefully constructed songs with strong rhythms, sturdy hooks, and pop-soul melodies. Too bad that much of the record simply isn't as memorable. Sure, there are several potential singles with naggingly catchy melodies and the entire production is appealingly glossy and accessible, but the songs simply aren't there and neither is the charming, unashamed brashness of their early work. A few songs -- the garage techno of "Angel St.," the catchy house of "Fantasy Island" and the sweeping orchestrated pop of "Just for You" -- make the album worthwhile, but on the whole Fresco is a distressing step backward for a group that had yet to make a false move.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine