After the success of their debut album In The Beginning the ten strong North London teenage crew release their second album Now Or Never. The album sees the boys mixing R&B, hip hop, & UK garage but with slicker & fuller sounding production work than on their debut release. Features 16 tracks including the singles We Just BeDreamin & Flip Reverse. Includes 11 print off photos & details of how to get every track as a ringtone. EastWest. 2003.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Now or Never
wasn't recorded by Blazin' Squad at all after the forlorn, 30-second piano solo that begins opener "Here 4 One". But then the street-gang, after-school, shouty rap comes in and you're back on familiar ground. Welcome to the (overpopulated) world of Blazin' Squad, who function as a bit of rough--a dangerous eddy--in the smooth waters of mainstream pop. "Here 4 One" does have a dusty Mexican outlaw guitar looping high in the mix though, giving it a desperate, vigilante feel that sounds more Santa Fe than East London chippie. However Blazin' Squad are best when they tone down their rapping, allowing silky-smooth R&B numbers to flourish, such as slick cut "Biggest Fan". "You're the girl who fits the picture in my mind," one of them (which one?) croons.
Lyrics aren't one of their strong points, which is why rapping is such a fatal mistake. "Still Thinking About You" has fairy-light balladry and spoken melody--yes, Blazin' Squad are the new East 17. Except on "All We Wanna Do Is Rap", where they try and sound like 50 Cent, with dark, undulating strings but little or no menace. Requests to "Turn the beat up, man" are actually comical.
This is bum-fluff rap; the sound of teenagers hanging around outside the Spar, keying your car and smoking. "This ain't Fame Academy," they sing, "These are real-life skills." Which is good, because they'll be needing them. The last song (ironically, a rather good acoustic strummathon) is called "Life's a Struggle", and you can't help thinking that, for these boys, it certainly will be now. --Cortman Virtue