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Record Rating: ***

Blue - Guilty A couple of years back, Blues first single All Rise announced a new talent, a British band that could genuinely take on the Robbie Williams and Britney Spears of this world and come out on top. The album that followed won plaudits galore, topped the charts and built the platform perfectly for... well, for what?

. Where once they stood out from their British pop contenders Westlife, now they fit in perfectly with the rest of those boys. This third album may not actually be the best thing you'll hear all year, but doubtless it will be a hit with the younger crowd. For on their hard album -Guilty Blue treat their public like kids, which, admittedly, most of them are. Duncan, were told, wrote the single Guilty, when he was 12 or some other tender age. Pretentious lyrics, a melody straight out the mid 90s, warbling all over the tune - yep, it sounds believable. And if you thought that their cover of Elton Johns Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word was bad enough, the biggest surprise is the cover of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, featuring Wonder himself and recasting that classic song as though it had always been a hip hop anthem crying out.

The Gary Barlow-penned title track is a similarly bare-faced re-hash of Back For Good, while Walk Away is a slick rock ballad with a hip hop beat and I Wanna Know is, for want of a better word- heard before. Inheriting the fans jumping off the Westlife ship, the genuine pop alternative have now become the type of safe, bland boy band they used to despise. Sixteen mediocre songs, making it difficult to find one that actually stands out. Given the current state of British music, this is not a good thing.

For Guilty seems to be carefully constructed to ensure the fans they've already got will grow up with them. Even if they approach a level of maturity that few suspected they would reach, the prospects of Blue being more than just another boy band could inch forward. Just don't expect anyone to respect them for it, no matter how much they deserve that respect. Highly recommended for 9 to 19 year old Backstreet Boys, NSync & Westlife fans. This will get that all night girls slumber party going!

Read our other reviews:

Limpbizkit - Results May Vary       Coldplay - Live 2003       John Mayer - Heavier Things       Westlife - Turnaround

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