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The Steps Comeback Is Just What The World Needs Right Now

09/03/2017 13:53 GMT | Updated 09/03/2017 14:02 GMT

It's always risky staging a comeback after years away in the pop wilderness.

S Club had a half-arsed stab at it in 2014 and disappeared as quickly as they arrived following a 'will this do?' tour and a memorable-for-all-the-wrong-reasons performance on Children In Need that even had Pudsey's furry toes curling.

And only this week, Bros announced they were shelving the majority of their comeback gigs after a huge amount of fanfare and a massively hyped press conference teasing the "biggest reunion in pop history." Talk about setting themselves up to fail.

So the odds should be stacked against Steps who are back (back, BAAACK!) twenty years after they released their first single, 5, 6, 7, 8, but pop lovers everywhere (me included) are, it has to be said, pretty giddy at their return.

And by back, I mean properly back. That means a brand new single (more on that later), a brand new album and a full scale UK tour of the biggest venues up and down the country.

steps

OK, so this still isn't the "biggest reunion in pop history" - that will always be reserved for ABBA - but just like those legendary Swedes, there is a huge amount of genuine love and affection for Steps.

It helps that their timing is immaculate.

Pop music is never going to save the world, but it can do a bloody good job of distracting us from the scary reality we now live in.

When Steps scored their last Top 10 hit back in 2001, Donald Trump was just another (very orange) multi-millionaire businessman that approximately 0.0001% of Steps' fans had heard of.

Oh, how things change.

Life was less complicated back then, or at least it blissfully seemed that way.

There was no social media, most of us had only just got a mobile phone and you had to go to HMV and physically buy a CD single. Imagine!

The pop landscape might be unrecognisable compared to when Steps last bothered the charts, but we've never needed them more - and that's before anyone had even heard the new material - but they've absolutely nailed that too.

Comeback single Scared Of the Dark is exactly how you'd imagine a Steps single to sound in 2017. It perfectly harks back to that golden age of pop, but with a modern day sheen.

Steps have never ever been cool, but everyone who loves them not only knows that, but positively embraces it, so they've very wisely avoided trying to sound current. That would have been a disaster.

From the opening strings of the fake ballad intro, it's all reassuringly familiar and then that glorious chorus kicks in, which is straight out of the 'How To Do ABBA' songwriting handbook.

And don't even get me started on the key change.

OK, so it's only three and a half undiluted minutes of pure, unadulterated, joyous, thrilling, carefree escapism, but there's not enough of that about right now, so I'll take it in any form I can, thank you very much.

Steps are not here to save the world, but they'll do a bloody good job of distracting us from it while they can.

Job done then.

'Scared Of The Dark' is available to stream and download from Friday 10 March. The album 'Tears On The Dancefloor' follows on 21 April