Random Access Memories
With their third album, JLS are fast morphing into an R&B version of Westlife.
This is not to say that 2008's X Factor runners-up have ditched their urban and club beats in favour of stool-bound balladry, but they share Westlife's clinical knack of knowing exactly what their devoted teen fans want, and churning it out by the yard.
It's ironic that the band claim that Jukebox's title reflects its vast and eclectic range of music, as in truth they stick rigidly to their standard musical formula: spirited but ultimately generic urban-electro pop-soul, of which the recent Dev-featuring, number-one single You Make Me Wanna is typical.
It's not bad, as such, and glossy R&B essays such as Teach Me How To Dance and Go Harder are as slick as any hip-hop/soul coming out of America right now. It's just all very predictable, with only Shy Of The Cool and Innocence hinting at any soul or individuality beneath the sleek surfaces.
But critical reviews bounce off JLS: Jukebox will sell by the truckload over Christmas, and put tens of thousands of bums on arena seats when they tour next spring. They are colossal; unstoppable. Which brings us back to Westlife…