JLS - Evolution
Despite shaky foundations (finding fame via the SyCo-fuelled X Factor machine) JLS are starting to shake off their production line sound through their aptly named fourth release, Evolution. Prior to releasing the album, the pop junkies among us were treated to the tightly produced (if crappily titled) ‘Hottest Girl In The World’. Sporting a style akin to Justin Timberlake before he decided that shit films were more his forte, the lead single acted as a spearhead for something new. Far removed from the dull pop they were getting labelled with, Evolution sees a shift for the JLS lads into the realm of the (gasp) credible.
However, it’s not all sophisticated serenading. The falsetto vocals may sound appealing but content-wise their chat-up-line filled lyrics leave more than something to be desired. The hormone-fuelled sex fest ‘Dessert’ falls flat on its face ("Girl you’re looking like a menu / Craving a dish, I’m yours / Oh baby"), despite the thumpingly addictive, bass heavy beat. The sexually overt statements hit rock bottom with the "I want to lick you up and down" line. Whilst probably intended for an older fan base, in reality come Christmas Day there’s going to be a lot of pissed off parents. Controversy might sell (see: Rihanna), but this watered down version means JLS have hit something of a tripping block.
Despite this faux pas, the sultry vocal tone works on a musical level. ‘Have Your Way’ shows that the largely identikit band members actually have individual talent, and when pieced together Evolution shows off some extremely listenable arrangements. Even the indifferent verses of ‘I Like It’ are redeemed by a chorus which invokes 90s nostalgia not dissimilar to N*Sync (that JT comparison again). A concrete verse from up-and-coming Nicki Minaj soundalike Bebe O’Hare is not only have been cheaper than the real Minaj deal, but also gives the foursome additional cool points.
Evolution does exactly what it says on the tin. JLS are back and seem to deserve a second chance. It’s not quite enough to forget the monstrous Sound of Music-sampling of ‘The Club Is Alive’, but it comes very, very close.