WORTH A LOOK: ****
TRACKLIST: Scared Of The Dark; You Make Me Whole; Story Of A Heart; Happy; No More Tears On The Dancefloor; Firefly; Space Between Us; Glitter And Gold; Neon Blue; I Will Love Again; Scared Of the Dark (Wideboys In the Shadows Vocal Mix); Story Of A Heart (7th Heaven Radio Mix)
‘Did he see me? Or did I just imagine it all? Putting a face on a stranger, a face I find more and more hard to recall.’
- Read on for reasons including why this is the best ‘proper’ album by Steps
Looking for the precise moment when the reboot of Steps put our favourite late 90s pop act back exactly where they deserve to be?
It’s the quote above from third track in this collection and current single Story Of A Heart, the most ABBA song Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson wrote since the band split.
It boasts everything that was brilliant about Swedish pop titans ABBA not least the cute phrasing that authors with English as their first language might shy away from, like ‘back of a bus’ or ‘his hands resting a while on the oars’.
Then of course there’s the fabulous female pop voices of Claire Richards, Faye Tozer and Lisa Scott-Lee soaring above the most gorgeously melodic Europop.
Nudging it for single of the year so far is their comeback Scared Of The Dark, which manages to sound a little more like the classic pop ABBA might make now if they hadn’t called it a day way back when leaving the door ajar for these pop whippersnappers and their ‘ABBA on speed’ ambition.
We first saw Steps live at Portsmouth Guildhall in summer 1999 ahead of second album Steptacular which paved the way for the arena gigs they continue to enjoy. Fast forward 13 years and we joined them at The 02 for the Ultimate Tour and despaired a little at the rinsing of their fans that was that year’s dire Light Up The World album.
These reality and musical theatre stars learned from it though and return here with their strongest album yet, behind only singles collection Gold, as they prepare to wow the arenas once again later this year.
Indeed, the first 5 tracks here put them right back where they deserve to be – centre stage at every provincial gay nightclub across the land. Snobbish? The band’s relaunch Sun exclusive should tell you everything about their commercial ambition.
Both Happy and No More Tears On The Dancefloor should easily follow their predecessors up the singles charts a full 20 years after Steps first troubled them.