Appleton

Everything's Eventual

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The fortunes of artists who go solo once their pop group has disbanded has always been hard to predict. Robbie Williams is an obvious example, but the likes of Simon Webbe and Geri Halliwell, to name two more, have achieved far greater success than anticipated, often at the expense of their much more fancied bandmates. So it shouldn't come as too much of a shock that the Appleton sisters, formerly of chart-toppers All Saints, have easily surpassed some rather lowly expectations with their debut album. Nicole and Natalie may be famous for their rock star boyfriends and Heat magazine appearances, but Everything's Eventual positions them as gifted songwriters, with a knack for a strong pop melody that could see them overshadowing their more prominent former group members Shaznay Lewis and Melanie Blatt. Taking Madonna's seminal Ray of Light as its inspiration, the duo combines shimmering electronica, acoustic pop, and heartfelt understated ballads to produce an eclectic and confident first offering not a million miles away from another solo attempt by a former member of a girl band: Melanie C's Northern Star. Hits like the pop/rock fusion of "Fantasy" and the acoustic ballad "Don't Worry" (the missing link between Nicole's husband's Oasis and their old girl group) are certainly no fluke. "M.W.A.," with its multi-layered harmonies, recalls early Alisha's Attic at their finest; "Ring-A-Ding-Ding" is an Eastern-influenced epic that sounds like a potential Bond theme; and "Waiting for Your Love" is expertly crafted pop that screams out as a future single. The album is at its best, however, when it's at its most introspective, the gorgeous piano-driven "5am" and rather theatrical closer, "Anyone," showcasing both girls' vocals to prove that the spare-part tag they were labeled with in All Saints was particularly unfair. Lyrically, they shouldn't be expecting any Ivor Novello nods just yet, with the plodding dance-pop of "Everything Eventually" featuring a seemingly never-ending ramble about Adidas trainers and "listening to Harry Potter on a cassette player audio." But that doesn't detract from this accomplished and eclectic debut, which should both silence their naysayers and throw down the gauntlet to their ex-bandmates.

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