Hanson – Anthem
By Jeremy Williams, Arts Correspondent
Hanson have come of age, with troupe marking their 21st anniversary as band by releasing their own beer brand – MMMHops – and unveiling their latest studio ‘Anthem’.
However, given that the trio are still best known on these shores for their debut single ‘MMMBop’, the distance between the teen-poppers and the now early thirty-somethings (ok, Zac is still a late twenty-somethings) appears to have been something of a hindrance when aiming for mainstream success on these shores.
Despite having released a truly diverse, always outstanding plethora of albums – from the slightly Blues tinged ‘This Time Around’ through to the true funk of ‘Shout It Out’ – Hanson last graced the UK Top 10 with the rather lush ‘Penny & Me’ back in 2004. So can all that change with the boys back in town for an Autumn tour, and the 90s comeback trip at peak post the success of The Big Reunion? The answer lies in the relevance of Hanson’s ‘Anthem’…
As Hanson albums go, ‘Anthem’ is far from the most instantly radio friendly.
While their début ‘Middle Of Nowhere’ slotted perfectly in to a cutesy funk-tinged teen-pop bracket, and the driven ‘Underneath’ coincided with the rise of the musically dexterous boy-band – ‘Anthem’ channels a far grittier, rock pop sound that showcases their skills as songwriters and vocalists, but does not ever attempt to echo the sounds currently dominating our airwaves.
Hanson appear to be a band who have all the credentials for global domination, but have attained a cult status instead.
Those in the know are acutely aware just how mind-blowing their output is – how can anyone resist dancing along to ‘Thinkin’ About Somethin” and ‘Give A Little’ from ‘Shout It Out’? – yet the mainstream music industry appears to have them bracketed as an act already written off. That being said, it would be an immense shame if ‘Anthem’ did not receive the attention it deserves.
‘Anthem’ is a truly gripping collection of 13 new songs from the trio. With vocals more evenly distributed, all three of the brothers are allowed a moment to shine.
But before we hone in on the individual Hanson brothers, a special mention has to go out to Michael ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick (from the infectiously awesome Fitz and the Tantrums), who brings a delicious funk edge to the irrepressible lead single ‘Get The Girl Back’ and scrumptious album stand out ‘I’ve Got Soul’.
While Taylor’s finest moment comes in the shape of the truly addictive singalong ‘Lost Without You and groove driven ‘Tragic Symphony” and Zac’s arrives in the romping ‘Scream And Be Free, it is Isaac who steals the show with the insanely gorgeous ballad ‘For Your Love’.
While there is no denying that the boys occasionally wear their hearts on their sleeves – Michael Jackson (‘Tragic Symphony’), Jimi Hendrix meets Sly & The Family Stone (‘You Can’t Stop Us) and Jellyfish (”Juliet’) – the trio have matured, but never lost the essence of who they are.
Anyone who takes the time to listen to all Hanson’s albums will note that despite their genre experimentation, at the core of their sound is something so distinct to Hanson, that there is no need to question why these boys have gone the distance.
Unsurprisingly for an act who have over 16 million record sales under their belt, and 21 years of musical experience, ‘Anthem’ is a truly outstanding celebration of everything Hanson stand for.
Source: The Yorkshire Times
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