GORGEOUS gals The Saturdays are back with their latest album, On Your Radar, released this week through Polydor Records.
It’s often said that the girls – Frankie, Vanessa, Una, Mollie and Rochelle – look better than they sing, but On The Radar is the five-piece’s most diverse and accomplished album yet.
Ranging from the swooning melodies of My Heart Takes Over to the banging top ten smash hit singles All Fired Up and Notorious, summing up the album is not easy – so we’ll leave that to the girls. According to Frankie, “personal” is the one word that pulls all the songs together, while Rochelle says that making the album “has completely reignited all the drive and passion we had for recording”.
“That feeling is more intense now than it’s ever been before,” adds the 22-year-old singer.
Unlike many of today’s pop acts, The Saturdays write a lot of their own songs, and On The Radar sees them credited for half of the album’s 14 tracks.
The group have also continued to work with some of the industry’s finest talents, such as Steve Mac and Ina Wroldsen, who were behind My Heart Takes Over and the infectious Notorious, and pop powerhouse Xenomania, who have penned worldwide hits for Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys and Kylie, among many others.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a guest appearance from Travie McCoy, whom the girls first met at last year’s Mobo Awards, popping up on The Way You Watch Me.
With Girls Aloud on a hiatus since 2009, The Saturdays have stepped up to become the biggest girl group in the country, but since Frankie’s notable absence from the promotional duties for current single All Fired Up, the band have been plagued with rumours that they are on the verge of breaking up.
Not so, says Frankie, who is nevertheless a “part-time” member of the band at the moment, following a stint in rehab for “unconfirmed reasons” last month.
“No, we’re not splitting,” she confirms, putting the rumour to bed.
On Your Radar is out now through Polydor, £9.99
What’s the price of a text message? Rather a lot according to director Frank Poulsen, whose eye-opening new documentary, Blood In The Mobile, shows how minerals used to make mobile phones are financing war in the Congo.
The film follows Poulsen on a hugely personal journey to connect Africa’s “heart of darkness” with the ivory towers of European multinationals.
Over the last 15 years, five million people have died in Congo’s civil war. The UN has consistently reported a connection between the conflict and control of the international trade in minerals used in products such as mobile phones.
Reaching the dangerous and normally inaccessible Bisie mine area, Poulsen’s roller-coaster journey reveals child labourers in death-defying conditions before he returns home to ask his phone company – the largest in the world – just what are they doing to prevent the cycle of poverty and conflict?
After sell-out screenings at this year’s Take Action Film Festival, the Filmhouse welcomes Blood In The Mobile back to Lothian Road on Saturday, when the screening will be followed by a discussion with special guest speakers involved with the issues raised in the film.
Visit www.takeoneaction.org.uk for more details.
Blood In The Mobile, Filmhouse, Lothian Road, Saturday, 8.15pm, £7.50 (£5.50), 0131-228 2688
JAPAN’S Haruki Murakami is a writer with rock-star-like status. He has millions of hip, youngish fans. His fiction, translated into 42 languages, sells by the truckload and each new book he writes arrives to a Harry Potter-release-like throb of anticipation.
His latest, 1Q84, took less than a month to shift a million copies in Japan alone, and Jay Rubin, one of its English translators, has since declared that “Murakami can get away with anything now. If he scribbled on his toilet paper, they would publish it”.
1Q84 isn’t the Norwegian Wood author’s best book, but it’s his finest for many a year.
It also happens to be his longest, which is why it has been published in separate volumes, the final part of which hits bookstores tomorrow.
A mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1Q84’s two main characters, a male novelist and a female serial killer, exist in parallel universes but are searching for each other as the novel winds its way between their worlds.
In short, it’s simply unputdownable.
1Q84: Book 3, published by Harvill Secker, £14.99