The X Factor gauntlet has done amazing things for some of Britain’s rising talent over the past few years. JLS are one of the best examples that show that you don’t have to win the national singing competition to come out on top. With over 6 million records sold, five number one singles under their belts, a pair of BRIT Awards to proudly display on their mantles and being one of only 3 British bands to sell out more than 10 dates at London’s O2 Arena, JLS have certainly dodged a bullet by taking the runner up position behind Alexandra Burke when they took part in the X Factor back in 2008.
The group is set to release album number 4 this month, the follow up to last years Jukebox. With the appropriate title of Evolution, the new record sees JLS working alongside some of America’s top producers including the iconic Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins, the man whose production credits read like a ‘who’s who’ of the music business from Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and TLC through to The Spice Girls, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson and Cher.
Evolution pulls together a brand new 10 tracks of urban smoothness and shows that evolving is clearly something these boys have set out to do with this record which boasts a track listing that is fresh yet revisits some of R&B’s finer components giving the record a nostalgic coating.
There are a number of tracks on Evolution that hold a notable nesting place on the record. Hottest Girl In The World is the obvious selling point so far, being chosen to represent the album as its lead single. Here the groups harmony skills come into full focus while its melody sits somewhere between Justin Timberlake and old school 90’s R&B influences. Infectious and upbeat, the hit is the perfect welcome back track for the quartet and showcases the group’s faultless vocals and matured musical style.
The opening Dessert combines an even stronger old school feel as it intertwines robotic vocals with some impressive instrumental effects and falsetto lashings while the boys leave their pop roots at the door to unleash a diverse, homage to their nineties hip hop influences.
JLS have cited Boyz II Men as being heavy influences on the act and that comes through the most on tracks like Hold Me Down, a piano led and hook heavy R&B monster filled and fueled by rich harmonies and a memorable melody that keeps you coming back for more of its syrupy sweetness time and time again.
With the first half of the record proving the lads have retained their knack at releasing some of today’s most well-crafted hits, the latter half of Evolution propels that momentum with I Like That providing the record with its most heartfelt love declaration.
The closing Gotta Try It ends the track listing on a high. Like the rest of the record it is an R&B track which flirts with the bands mainstream pop sound, opening with some flawless harmonies while a deep synth creeps into the number before dipping its toe into acoustic waters. Stripped back and sentimental, the track contains an instrumentation rich with retro effects and Aston’s impressive falsetto skills providing the backbone to the song. Though the track has a dated feel to it in terms of its place within the JLS catalogue and its strong fling with nineties R&B, it is one of the key numbers on Evolution and the one track that allows the foursomes vocal style and abilities to shine through the most.
JLS really do seem to be going from strength to strength and what a better way to show that than with the release of Evolution. With 10 fantastic brand new tracks overflowing with addictive melodies, impeccable vocals and a tight production along with a list of producers that could really help these boys get noticed stateside, there isn’t much more that you can ask from in a JLS record.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.