The girl group genre may have gotten its start on these shores, but with Destiny’s Child and The Pussycat Dolls as notable exceptions, the U.S. hasn’t greeted all-female outfits with nearly the kind of fervor that the UK has over the last 15 years.
It began in 1996 with the Spice Girls, the British group who successfully straddled both sides of the pond as none has since. In their wake, estrogenic trios, quartets, and quintets have continued to spring up in the UK, while the U.S. remains largely oblivious to the endless parade of eye and ear candy available for import. See Sugababes (several iterations, with the first returning soon), Girls Aloud (just back with something new), and The Saturdays (recently profiled in People).
Among the newest girl groups from the UK is Fanfair, a London-based trio made up of Aimee Kearsley, Roberta Howett, and Jessica Martin. Kearsley nearly took Cheryl Cole’s spot in Girls Aloud and later joined Clea and LoveShy, Howett finished in ninth in the first season of The X Factor UK, while Martin is an ex-model.
Fanfair’s debut single, “Mission,” is out now, with an album on the way. Over the past year, when not opening for The Wanted, they’ve been writing and recording in London, Copenhagen, and Sweden with the likes of Cutfather (Kylie Minogue and The Pussycat Dolls’ best-ever single) and Arnthor Birgisson (Leona Lewis, Janet Jackson).
That the guitar in “Mission” mimics the opening credits to ’90s cultural touchstone Beverly Hills, 90210 could be the slyest way of waking up Stateside audiences from their girl-group stupor. After all, the Spice Girls made it big here when Brandon and Brenda Walsh were still on television.