The unspoken advantage of kit-built pop groups, especially ones made for kids: they’re liberated from attempts to be cool. Often they don’t make full use of this potential. Some decide they want to be cool anyway. Some don’t, but never try for anything more than slush or formula. So why is it an advantage? Because it gives groups access to a toybox of sounds and poses they can use, combine and discard, severed from fashion. Vocoders, for instance, were actually in minor vogue at this point – Daft Punk had found a way to use them sentimentally – but S Club 7’s deployment of synthesised voices is a guileless joy. “Don’t stop movin’ to the S Club beat!”
Their upbeat hits are where the point of S Club 7 comes into focus. Like “Reach”, “Don’t Stop Movin’” is bold hooks and primary colours, an instant infant disco classic that’s just the right side of the line between obvious and banal. The division of vocal labour helps the track enormously – Jo a smooth and secure contrast to the more enthusiastic, slightly rawer Bradley. It’s a fine way of making male-and-female voiced pop work when you don’t need to frame it as a duet. The rest of “Don’t Stop Movin’” mixes the classy and cheesy in similar measure – glossy string punctuation next to sharp vocoder buzz. The results are endearing, an easy high point for the band – finding a space where they can be the likeable, bouncy everybodies they are on TV.