Steps never felt quite in-step with their pop peers. Embracing plasticity and colour just as The X Factor began to remove the magic of the Top 40, their return has found the group operating in a different landscape. Last year’s ‘What The Future Holds’ was a much-needed blast of pop positivity, one that seemed to align Steps alongside much younger artists, such as Charli XCX and Lady Gaga.
So, a sequel. ‘What The Future Holds Pt. 2’ began as a deluxe edition, before taking on a character of its own. 15 tracks – 10 of which are new – lay claim to its independent status, and there’s a slew of highlights to enjoy. Michelle Visage aided ‘Heartbreak In This City’ remains a dancefloor mover, utterly unashamed in its delirious energy. ‘Living In A Lie’ is an effective ABBA homage, while ‘Trouble & Love’ finds the bittersweet balance between joy and melancholy.
The acoustic tracks are neat, and a reminder of Steps’ vocal chops – it’s also a decent excuse to explore their live abilities, as those tour dates approach ever nearer.
That said, it doesn’t escape the neon-glow of its forebear. ‘What The Future Holds Pt. 2’ sits in an odd position – too effective to be dubbed an expansion pack, yet not quite laying claim to new ground. As a means of keeping the Steps story moving, however, it’s a faultless fan experience.
Words: Robin Murray
- - -
- - -