RIGA - Although the girl group generally has a pretty dire history, having produced some of the most mind-numbingly bad music ever heard, and the most cynical marketing ploys ever conceived, few music lovers have a bad word to say about Sugababes, the U.K. threesome who will be playing in Riga on August 3.
In part this is because the group really does make some exceptionally good pop music, tinged with a savvy sense of R&B. And in part it's because the group is not a polished product handpicked and groomed for success, but a rather unlikely story of childhood friends who happened on the big time.
When the group formed back in 1998 the original three members were barely in their teens. Keisha Buchanan and Mutya Buena had been friends ever since elementary school, and they met Siobhan Donaghy while at a party in their early teens.
The girls struck a deal with the London-Sire record company that resulted in their first album ''One Touch,'' released in 2002. The album featured the wonderful single ''Overload'' and launched the group as a major new act.
Donaghy then left the group amid feverish media rumors that she'd been booted out, although Buena and Buchanan denied this. Either way, the vacancy was filled by ex-Atomic Kitten, Heidi Range.
The follow up album, ''Angels With Dirty Faces,'' was released in November 2002 to critical acclaim and public success. The girls won a coveted Brit award for Best Dance Act and the single "Freak Like Me," which sampled Gary Numan's "Are Friends Electric," was a huge international smash, along with several other singles.
"Three," the girls' latest album, has so far only spawned one huge single - "Too Lost in You" - though others will doubtless follow.
The album sees the group doing what it does best, combing pop, R&B, hip-hop, garage and even a dash of indie with extraordinary ease and inventiveness. Sugababes is one of the few really mainstream groups that even serious music buffs can admit to liking. On the strength of this album, they are going to be with us for a while.
Mezaparks Open-Air Stage, Riga
Aug. 3 - Entrance from 6 p.m., concert starts 8 p.m.
Tickets from 5 lats
(7.70 euros) - 10 lats
all major ticket outlets