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Music Review

Same Difference: 'Pop'

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Same Difference: 'Pop'
Released on Monday, Dec 1 2008

"This is love, this is life, this is good, this is great - this is all that we we've believed in," Same Difference sing on their debut single 'We R One' – and you can tell that these perma-grinning siblings mean every word. Sean and Sarah Smith made it all the way to the final on last year's X Factor after charming the audience with their boundless energy and faintly ridiculous performances. They also won over the most important judge, with Simon Cowell now giving them the opportunity to record an album.

The result is something that doesn't really exist in 2008: an overtly "bubblegum" pop record. While Girls Aloud and Alesha Dixon rely on cooler, Xenomania-produced offerings to win a place in the top ten, Pop is an album for those missing the days when 911 and Steps - clad in their matching outfits and with "mikes" stuck to their faces - were the kings and queens of Saturday morning TV. It almost goes without saying, but it's cheesier than a marathon runner's trainers.

But funnily enough, what's great about this album is that there's nothing original about it. 'If You Can't Dance', 'We R One' and 'Right Between The Eyes' are all exactly what you want from Same Difference - infectious choruses, easy-to-remember lyrics and utterly shameless key changes. Sean and Sarah may lack the vocal clout of Leona or even Leon, but they tear into surprisingly convincing covers of Starship's 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' and High School Musical's 'Breakin' Free' with relish.

Of course, credit should be given to the album's team of writers and producers, which includes Pete Waterman and Saturdays collaborators Quiz & Larossi, for making the most of their brief. Sadly, like the old Steps and S Club 7 CDs Same Difference grew up on, several tracks here seem to have been included solely to make up the numbers. Blending into each other, 'Starts To Beat Again' and 'Turn It Into Love' will be skipped and forgotten within minutes.

Needless to say, Pop is unlikely to be enjoyed by the average indie boy or goth girl, but when it comes to making infectious, unpretentious bubblegum pop, Same Difference have proved themseleves the equals of their musical heroes. In fact, this album is often so effective that it'll be no surprise when it turns up in a lot of High School Musical fan's Christmas stockings.


> Click here to read our interview with Same Difference

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