Hanson relive the 80s on enjoyable ninth album, ‘Anthem’

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Now all married with kids, one of the original boybands with guitars returns for entertaining venture into 80s pop-rock.


The brief appearance in Katy Perry‘s ‘Last Friday Night’ video, the launch of their own cleverly-named MmmHops beer, a solitary week in the Top 10 with ‘Penny & Me’ – the Hanson brothers have had the odd brush with the mainstream since their multi-million-selling breakthrough, ‘Middle Of Nowhere.’

But despite their best efforts, most of the UK still see them as the cherub-faced long-haired teenagers who enchanted and irritated (take a bow Zac) in equal measure over fifteen years ago. Of course, the reality is that the siblings are now old enough to have spawned a group of Hanson Juniors themselves. All three members are now happily married, while the youngest at 27, Zac, is currently expecting his third and overall, the band’s tenth child.

If that doesn’t make it clear that the boys have grown up, then their ninth studio effort, ‘Anthem,’ certainly will. As although ‘Juliet,’ a playful slice of stuttering piano-pop which recalls Maroon 5 at their bounciest and potential American Idol winners’ singles ‘For Your Love’ and ‘(Encore) Save Me From Myself’ could quite easily fit into the current chart landscape, the majority of its thirteen tracks are more dad-rock than teen-pop.

Taking turns to share vocals, Isaac now resembles a young Steven Tyler on the primitive blues-rock of opener ‘Fired Up.’ The rousing ‘You Can’t Stop Us Now’ seems designed to be belted out during a pivotal scene in the ‘Rock Of Ages’ musical. While the layers of saxophone and retro beats on ‘I’ve Got Soul’ makes it sound like the trio are auditioning to be the next Blues Brothers.

At times, the band make their influences just a bit too apparent. The toe-tapping AOR of ‘Tragic Symphony’ shamelessly lifts the ‘wooh-ooh’ hook from KT Tunstall’s ‘Black Horse & The Cherry Tree.’ While the spiky power-pop of ‘Cut Right Through Me’ is little more than a retread of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up.’

But it’s difficult not to get caught up with the group’s genuine enthusiasm. ‘Anthem’ might not be the most credible route to distance themselves from their pure pop past. But it’s an enjoyable, if entirely derivative, journey into the bar-rooms of the 80s which cements their status as one of the best boybands with guitars.


Jon O’Brien is a music and film obsessive from Wigan. His current favourite acts are Haim, AlunaGeorge, London Grammar, Disclosure and Jessie Ware. He has tried but he still doesn’t really get the fuss about ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘I Love It.’

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