Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
57

Music Review

JLS: 'JLS'

By
JLS: 'JLS'
Released on Monday, Nov 9 2009

Even before they finished as runners-up on last year's X Factor, it was clear that JLS had something special about them. So winning was their combination of smooth harmonies and toned torsos that police were forced to break up a stampede of hysterical girls at their first gig - a rare sight since the boyband heyday of the late '90s. Fast-forward 12 months and JLS have comfortably established themselves as the UK's favourite new pop group, with two No.1 singles and a pair of MOBO gongs already under their belt.

But while the irresistibly catchy pop/R&B of 'Beat Again' amply justifies the initial excitement, the mushy and borderline generic follow-up 'Everybody In Love' is more indicative of what's in store on their first album. It often feels as though they've raided the boyband vaults from the turn of the century and scrubbed up the rusty results with some modern production polish, with only the odd gem standing out amongst the wealth of disposable, derivative material here.

Prime offenders? Well, 'Close To You' is a classically cutesy boyband love song with lyrics perfect for a Smash Hits Songwords card: "London, Paris, Tokyo, thinking of you wherever I go." The flamenco-infused 'Heal This Heartbreak' is given extra oomph by some Kanye-style vocal trickery, but it still manages to sound more Now 39 than 2009. Then there's the drippy 'Crazy For You', a track as achingly bland as an old 911 B-side.

However, there are moments where JLS sound like a true late-'00s boyband capable of making contemporary pop hits. The Eurodance beats and instant hook of 'Keep You' - courtesy of producer of the moment Fraser T. Smith - and the shimmering electropop of 'Kickstart' are both as fresh as they are exciting. Meanwhile, the racy 'Private', which finds the boys hankering for an affair, and 'One Shot', with its surprising change of tempo, are fairly convincing attempts at creating a club banger sound.

Boyband albums have always been fairly hit-and-miss - you're not going to find Blue and Boyzone on any influential records lists - but JLS set the standard that bit higher on The X Factor with stronger-than-average vocals and an endearing camaraderie. Sadly, that excitement hasn't really been translated onto their first album. Their loyal army of fans will ensure that it sells, but there's little here to justify why they voted for them in the first place.


> Click here to watch our recent interview with JLS

You May Like

Comments

Loading...