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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Album Review: “Evolution” by JLS



By Mandy Rogers

I can’t proclaim to say I’ve taken much in of JLS apart from their charting singles but upon hearing that a shift in key sound has been championed on their forthcoming 4th studio album “Evolution” strike me down as curious to find out what’s being cooked up in there.

The transition from pop ready boy band to contemporary maturing man band is a interestingly decisive move by JLS to stretch their longevity in not staying on the tried and tested road as the majority of boy bands do. For those that do, the steam usually runs out eventually and they fade away leaving a trail of broken hearts and the eternal hope within the fandom that they will reform one day.  None of that for JLS, in turning tables on their sound, they may loose a few but in opening a whole new arena of sound for themselves, they are set to broaden their appeal to people like myself that for the most part shake their head at the boy band tag.

The “Evolution” of JLS punches in from the start with a confident opener in “All The Way” setting the tone with a tightly futuristic twist of urban dance, it strikes a pose in Craig David circles, but is rich in modern connectivity, boasting a new found effervescent synergy that warms its way through this track.  Upon first listen it certainly pepped up the curiosity levels as to what was going to follow through on the album.   

Then popped up the genre jumping “Dessert”. Whoa, this is some fierceness. The silky waves of the finely presented R’n’B vocal gymnastics on this are hit with a jolt of rap interludes. Couldn’t be further removed from anything I’ve heard from JLS before, well excepting of forthcoming single “Hottest Girl In The World” but it’s coloured interesting and coloured interesting in a good way that definitely signs off a departure from their previous safe pop sound.

Don’t Know That” and “Gotta Try It” shine with an old school glow, middle of the road in amazingness but by no means unpleasant and the vocals remain on point, I just find them a little too soul ballad for my tastes.

Single Alert! “Give Me Life” oh yes please! please! please! let it be so – no really I have no hints as to what singles will be released from “Evolution” but “Give Me Life” must surely be up there as a candidate.  Forget that Girls Aloud comeback song and get wrapped up in this assertive dance floor banger instead.

So the comments have been rolling in, that JLS’s move to the urban sector might find them presenting a Timberlake /Timbaland-esque vibe, well until reaching “Have Your Way” it wasn’t in evidence.  “Have Your Way” has some serious sexy going on with it and well I rather like it coming from the mouths of JLS to be frankly honest.

As we’ve hit on making comparisions, I shall make point here that the guys have openly embraced their Britney in on “Troublemaker” and you are forgiven for chanting “Womaniser”!  To be honest I wouldn’t be in anyway surprised, since that is exactly what fell out of my mouth the minute the vocals kicked in on this. However, it extends further into Beyonce territory before flirting down on the urban whilst introducing newbie Chicago hip-hop belle Bebe O’Hare in on a rap breakdown. I find this one a bit too busy of genre mashing and seriously I’m not a flag waving Britney fan either, so this one takes it on the chin a bit from me

Well strike me down if  “Hold Me Down” doesn’t make it out of the album as a single also.  It screams urban anthem. Did perchance the team behind Emeli Sande have any contribution on this album at all?  I don’t rightly know the answer on this, but anyway it kind of fits into that uproot of sound.      

As previous I have a sticking point with the ballad side of this album, (but nothing more to do than with my personal preference), it comes right on the mid-tempo number “I Like It”. Hose me down in the sensuous overthrows of the big bass line and those teasingly fine vocals, I have found the one from this JLS transitionary album that makes me wanna get busy and therefore, JLS have arrived at being an all man band via this track in my eyes.

"Evolution" is an album of course production solid, and some serious glorious moments of grabbing wow are contained within, but also I feel there are sounds that have just evolved too fast here and the core of their teeny fans are not going to get it.  “Evolution” is a valiant effort from JLS to strike out and diversify and for the most part it makes good at channelling it’s way forward into a new era.

“Hottest Girl In The World”  (releases October 19th)

Hottest Girl in the World - EP - JLS

Pre-order “Evolution” (releases November 5th)

Evolution - JLS

We’ll leave you to watch the boys fiercing it live and intimate with this freshly released acoustic vision of “Hottest Girl In The World


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