Emotionless pop just about ready to break speakers already on the brink, Jonas Brothers are back. Promoting the aptly titled The Album with two singles which, put together, were barely five minutes, is a stunning show of confidence. Wings was a sample, surely? Waffle House is a brand-ready advert. If listeners wanted a review of a compartmentalised breakfast eatery, Google reviews are available, although the two stars offered up on one slating which questioned the ability of a cook to “make a bowl of cereal properly,” does stand out. So too do Jonas Brothers, not with The Album but their continued pursuit of their pop-ready stage presence and the fame coming alongside it. Grating is the word for it, the high pitches hit on opening track Miracle are as the title would suggest.
Electronic manipulation, a chance to grasp for whatever nothingness the consistent interjections of “doot do do doot” maintain, and before listeners know it, it is over. Onto Montana Skies we are moved, shuffled along by a lazy parking attendant half-heartedly glancing over at the poorly maintained pop ride. Seatbelts must be worn at all times for fear of whiplash through a slow crawl over glass, new-wave butcherings and pop rock hostage situations. Frankly awful distortion on that second, skyline guffawing track, is brutal. Heavy production clusters make for lazy voice interpretations, essentially filtered through a children’s electronic voice changer toy. All good superstores sell those for £8, should the urge to produce a Jonas Brothers album at home ever strike. Plug in a karaoke machine and there you have Wings, unfortunately, no reference or theft from the Paul McCartney-founded band occurs.
Still, brace yourself for the apparently Bob Dylan-inspired Americana. Inspired in the same way Charles Manson inspires gardening, by that, not at all. How any tangible link can be made between Jonas Brothers’ Americana and just about anything Dylan has done is an embarrassing, boardroom pitch to the clusters of potential fans. Appeal through namedrops not talent, The Album has neither, anyway. Gospel seconds on Celebrate! are the inevitably empty padding Jonas Brothers need for their pivot into the vacuous Waffle House, where the diners are few and the listeners are fewer. Autotuned degeneracy guides on to Vacation Eyes, a stellar example of the brevity and soullessness attempted with wet piano notes and slowed percussion. Instrumentally, vocally, mentally and physically sickening. An absolute waste turns completely messy because even if Jonas Brothers had some wisdom to impart, it would be impossible to decipher it under the thick and sticky production.
Husbands and fathers these boys may now be, they are still empty on the creative side. Having the gall to appropriate Dylan, Shania Twain and The Beatles as their influences shows Jonas Brothers at a bold new step where potential brain damage guides their musical inferences. Their intentions are fine enough but their generic clusters are for the Good Doctor-watching, paint-drinking, flashy-light-distracted masses. Lowest common denominator music, for a collective still glued to the charts. Working best as a palette cleanser, The Album serves as a low point for the year, with trickery abound, featuring throughout to hopelessly expose those who listen to this and enjoy themselves. Fundamentally removed from heartfelt pop music, even those that like Jonas Brothers as a trio of people are hard-pressed to find much to love about this hollow, tonally bland record. Summer In The Hamptons should and will serve as proof of that disconnect, that meaningless, valueless product Jonas Brothers are.