Just because they are the latest English all-girl group export, don't confuse All Saints with their pop predecessors.
Sure, three Saints (Anglo-French Melanie Blatt and Anglo-Canadian sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton) were schoolmates of Baby Spice Emma Bunton... but hey, they weren't tight or anything.
And true, the Saints, like the Spices, are strictly singers, not players.
"I can play the glasses, which I play on one song on the album," Nicole explained as the group sat down with MTV News' Kurt Loder, who once went head-to-head with the Spice Girls as well (see "Spice Girls Karaoke With Kurt"). "I was just gettin' busy with these empty glasses and a pencil, they sampled it and put it on one of the tracks called 'Heaven.' So I can play the glasses, but Shaznay (Lewis) can play the drums, and Mel can play the triangle... Our voices are our instruments."
Those assets and a few others are on display in the
group's new video, "I Know Where It's At." [400k QuickTime]
"I think it's our favorite video because it's us and it's so normal and we're not dressed up and we're wearing our own clothes and it was a great time," Nicole said of the clip.
If the group's slick dance pop seems uniquely 90s, that's just fine with them. The group openly airs its distaste for the music it was forced to endure at the feet of its parents.
"Seventies rock like Led Zeppelin and Yes," Melanie said of the music of her youth. "I was named after Melanie, the singer who sang about a bicycle. So that's what I grew up with [300k Quicktime], so I don't want to do that kind of music ever!"
Not that they have anything against covers. The group's debut album packs a version of LaBelle's hit "Lady Marmalade" and a reinterpretation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under
The Bridge." [900k QuickTime]
"I asked one of our producers if he could come up with a backing track with some strings in it, and he actually used a track with the strings of the 'Under the Bridge' track," Natalie said, explaining how the cover came about.
Determined, confident, and... well... really cute, All Saints are hoping their songs can beat back the inevitable, and somewhat misdirected, Spice Girls comparisons.
"I think maybe if the media didn't make such a stigma of the fact that we're four girls, then maybe the people, the record buying public, would not see us as four pretty faces trying to sell a record," Melanie said. "There's much more to it than that [950k Quicktime], but then, it's for us to prove ourselves as well."