One of the reasons Take That's comeback has been a record-breaker is that they have in their ranks a songwriter who has matured into a purveyor of elegant, grownup pop.
New Kids on the Block, now on their second album since reuniting in 2008, aren't so lucky. They're a personality-driven outfit (remember the antics of naughty old Donnie Wahlberg?) who rely on outside songwriting help, in this case Danish team DeeKay.
The result is a muddle of mid-2000s electro (such as Crash, which is splashed with RedOne-style Auto-Tune), bubblegum-urban modelled on their early hits (Now or Never) and conveyor-belt ballads (take your pick from half a dozen, which condense romantic relationships into snippets such as: "You're the oxygen I breathe, you're running through my veins").
Only the lilting closer, Survive You – co-written by two members of JLS, oddly enough – makes proper use of their core strength: the ability to harmonise like a traditional Boston streetcorner band. It would be good to hear more of that next time.
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