Currently the biggest girl group in Britain by default, there's still a sense that five-piece the Saturdays have failed to take full advantage of Girls Aloud's lengthy absence and Sugababes' never-ending behind-the-scenes drama. Lacking the personalities and tunes of the former and the early coolness and invention of the latter, they may have managed to rack up an impressive ten Top Ten hits since 2008, but they still remain a surprisingly faceless mid-table pop act, while that all important number one frustratingly continues to elude them. Their third album, On Your Radar (fourth if you count mini-album Headlines!), therefore, is make-or-break time. Despite its generic "having fun in the club" lyrics, opening number "All Fired Up" couldn't have been a more defiant and positive response. Quite simply, it's the best thing they've put their interchangeable voices to, a trance-pop tour de force drenched in layers of euphoric synths, clubby beats, and anthemic melodies that suggests the girls are finally ready to step up to the big league. It's a shame then that its producers, Xenomania, only make one other contribution (the similarly pulsing "Get Ready, Get Set"), as it proves to be something of a false start. Following the trend for heavily Auto-Tuned urban synth pop, the likes of "For Myself," "Promise Me," and "White Lies," all of which surrender to the obligatory dubstep breakdown, are pure identikit filler seeming like leftovers from the Guetta production line; "The Way You Watch Me" is an unconvincing foray into indie disco featuring a pointless phoned-in guest vocal from Travie McCoy; while the dreary piano-led finale, "Last Call," and the melodramatic Ryan Tedder-esque "Wish I Didn't Know" explain their usual reluctance to leave the dancefloor. The stuttering techno of "Notorious" and the fist-pumping "My Heart Takes Over" are more promising, even if, like the band's career, they never reach their true potential, while "Do What You Want with Me" is a soaring electro ballad showing that their robotic vocals are occasionally capable of emotion. But surrounded by such disappointingly pedestrian fare, it's unlikely they'll be enough to save the Saturdays from the inevitable fall off the radar.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien