The North-West Londoners (N-Dubz, geddit?) are back with the follow-up to their platinum-selling debut 'Uncle B'. There's a history of music in the Contostavlos family (aforementioned Uncle B was in '70s band Mungo Jerry), but any talent hasn't been passed down to the next generation. Lazy, shoddy and cheap-sounding urban music with no invention and even less intelligence.
Don't worry if you're over 20 and have never heard of N-Dubz - it's not your fault. The London trio are hugely popular amongst teens of a school-going age in the UK and Ireland, but leave a gaping chasm of baffledom in the consciousness of practically everyone else. And not without reason; cousins Dappy and Tulisa Contostavlos and their friend Fazer write songs for urban-loving teenagers to relate to (sex, Facebook, sex on Facebook) much like their contemporaries Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk.
The problem is that their brand of music is such lowest-common-denominator stuff that it manages to offend even those that it's aimed at through its sheer awfulness. With a debut album ('Uncle B') that went platinum in less than a year, all the trio needed to do was write a quick follow-up to cash in on their popularity, and they've done exactly that. There's little creativity involved in these grimy tunes, smothered in layers of synthesised vocals and rapid-fire raps. 'I Need You' is vaguely reminiscent of Snap's 'Rhythm is a Dancer', Kanye's protégé Mr. Hudson turns up on the less-clubby 'Playing with Fire', while the aforementioned Chipmunk also lends his voice to the charmingly-titled 'Suck Yourself'.
It's a sad state of affairs, however, when the most bearable track is still a rehash of staccato drum machine beats and cheap-sounding synth zaps (the Wiley-guesting 'Na-Na'). And sure, the lyrics may be designed with a younger audience in mind, but is rhyming 'spanking' with 'wanking' really a sign of any skill? Even the one Tulisa-led song - 'Comfortable' - makes the mistake of using 'dual carriageway', a phrase that not even Maria Callas herself could have made sound beautiful.
Is this really what the kidz want in their music these days? And if yes, should we just throw our hands up now?