10   +   9   =  

union-j-albumReleased: 2013

It’s inevitable that from now on, every new boyband will have to live in One Direction’s shadow, especially ones that hail from singing competitions. Union J are proof of this, but have nonetheless managed to land two top ten singles since their time on The X Factor last year.

As expected, the annoyingly infectious electro-pop sound that dominates Carry You pervades Union J’s eponymous album. The X Factor lads are vocally capable (certainly more so than One Direction), and they don’t need their music to be heavily laden with production effects. Wintry ballads like Amaze Me showcase their smooth, clean vocals, proving that they don’t require the assistance of auto-tune. Beautiful Life and their cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper also demonstrate that the lads are able to hit some decent notes.

Union J offers many tantalisingly sunny pop songs that remove the guilt from guilty pleasures. Dreamy, fluffy tunes like Head in the Clouds and slick numbers like Loving You Is Easy burst with the boys’ sparkly, bubbly personalities; these will fit perfectly in your morning playlist to put the spring in your step. However, some tracks are just too reminiscent of One Direction – over-produced and smothered in auto-tune. Last Goodbye, Where Are You Now and Save The Last Dance sound extensively polished, which makes them difficult to enjoy.

The band’s slick, glossy sound may go down well with teenage girls and general pop lovers for a while, but sadly it’s unlikely that it will last very long. Their debut effort isn’t overwhelmingly brilliant but it’s not unbearably bad, either. It’s a shame that talented vocalists must be packaged as squeaky clean boybands and marketed for a teenage girl fanbase in order for them to be successful.

★★★

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