Judging by the title of their sixth studio album, Sugababes are fully aware of their reputation as troublemakers. They have a habit of notching up sensational tabloid stories, like how one of their boyfriends was involved in a machete attack, or how another of them practically forced a former member out of the band. It's true that the pop trio have had a fairly chequered history; their current line-up is the third since their formation in 1998, and they're constantly battling rumours of an imminent split in their camp.
But more importantly, it's been that impetuousness that's given their music that edge, resulting in moments of near-genius throughout their ten year career. On Catfights and Spotlights, however, they're few-and-far-between. Perhaps it's because the Brian Higgins/Xenomania team are busier writing hits for arch-rivals Girls Aloud these days, but this album really suffers from the Midas-like production team's absence.
For starters, it's frustratingly glossy and over-produced – there's an excessive number of amateurish piano and string-styled ballads that are completely devoid of charisma (Sunday Rain, Sound of Goodbyes, Can We Call A Truce among the worst), and an abundance of feeble uptempo tracks that sound like they've been plucked at random from a pop factory conveyor belt (No Can Do, Side Chick - although the latter does proffer the amusing line: "Calling all sorts of trickery / Tryna get in my knickers / This shit is gettin' ridiculous").
It's the slinky, sexy chic of dark, horror film-themed Beware, and the souped-up, Motown soul of You On A Good Day that barely elicits a repeat listen; even the forced, tacky brazenness of lead single Girls speaks volumes about this album's mediocrity. It all serves to remind us that despite their occasional glimmers of inspiration, the trio have yet to record an album that's start-to-finish brilliance. Best get on the phone to Xenomania post-haste, 'babes.