X Factor runners up JLS present their debut album of dance and R&B influenced pop, which manages to deliver a number of catchy tunes amidst a cascade of contrived boyband conventions.
The debut album from last year's X Factor runners up has been massively anticipated since Aston, Marvin, JB and Oritsé bagged not one but two UK number one singles post-competition. For the most part, JLS is exactly what you'd expect from a typical four piece boyband - unashamed cheesy pop with flourishes of R&B and dance.
To their credit, JLS do attempt to inject a bit of oomph into their conventional boyband style with the help of some dance style beats and synths. 'Heal The Heartbreak' begins like a standard guitar tune before thumping rhythms and undulating electronica transform it into pure dancefloor filler. Sadly, the boys are only successful on this front about half the time. 'One Shot' tries the same trick, but here slow vocals only clash with the intermittent up-tempo backing track.
At the same time, there's plenty of balladic drivel for those of that persuasion. The acoustic guitar driven 'Close to You' is drab and derivate, while 'Tightrope' even pulls off the classic Westlife style forced key change. In these circumstances, it's easy to overlook what should be JLS' biggest asset - their vocal ability. For a group that proved over the course of ten X Factor live finals that they can actually sing, it's criminal how overproduced the vocals are here. Voices are either Auto-Tuned beyond recognition or blended so closely together that one voice is almost totally indistinguishable from another.
All that said, if you're one of the many thousands of people who bought the nauseatingly trite single 'Everybody in Love', then you won't be disappointed.