June 17th, 2013
by James McNair
Though their fiendishly catchy 1997 single MMMBop remains Hanson’s chief claim to fame, the Oklahoma-born brothers have long since grown beyond their cutesy-pop beginnings. Syncopated, ear-worm-filled music is still their forte, but six albums in, the bloodline-tight harmonies of Issac, Taylor and Zac sound much more mature. Since founding their own label 3CG Records in 2003, the trio have also steered their career with acuity, and the 13 self-written, self-produced songs on Anthem are tightly arranged affairs. They also ooze the kind of commercial appeal that has enabled the group to shift 16 million albums. I’ve Got Soul – ostensibly the Hanson three as The Jackson 5 – is a case in point, as is You Can’t Stop Us, which successfully marries a Jimi Hendrix-like verse to a Sly & The Family Stone-like chorus groove. Elsewhere, Juliet is more reminiscent of the 1980s power-poppers Jellyfish. If you parted company with Hanson when young Zac was greener than Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin, it might be time to reappraise them.