Stripped down and dirty

At its core, Sugababes aren’t all that different from the likes of En Vogue or Destiny’s Child or TLC.

The three 16-year-old girls from England sing about those no-good guys in their lives and finding someone else to treat them right.

And while technically Sugababes and their American counterparts cover the same thematic and musical territory, they’re on different planes spiritually.

Where a TLC or Destiny’s Child album may ooze out of a listener’s stereo, Sugababes comes across as a bit rawer.

Although touted as sounding far more mature than their adolescent age, the youthfullness of the trio’s voices significantly contribute to that rough-hewned sound.

In short, these girls don’t quite have the vocal prowess to sing Destiny’s Child under the table, but it’s that lack in techincal precision that makes them sound rather appealing.

On the surface, Sugababes’ debut album, One Touch, is a predictable collection of R&B pop. There’s nothing terribly new or ground-breaking about tracks such as “Same Old Story” or “Real Thing”.

But the Sugababes stripped-down, low-ish budget production doesn’t scream “hard sell” as badly as with American-produced girl bands. The trio’s first single, “Ovaload”, works because it doesn’t try to hit listeners over the head.

One Touch is the perfect album for people who don’t mind R&B but can’t stand most of the R&B music out there. It’s hook-filled enough to fill an hour without grating on a person’s nerves for overly long.

Let’s hope Sugababes don’t lose that rough-edge as their talent improves.