Hanson

Shout It Out

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Back when “Mmm-Bop” mania swept through the land, Hanson were often praised for their deep roots in oldies, their sense of songcraft catapulting them beyond mere teeny bop sensations. As they got older, the craft naturally deepened at the expense of enthusiasm -- it’s part and parcel of growing older -- but they retained a sense of spunk, enough to give such latter-day records as The Walk a bit of juice. Contrary to its exuberant title, 2010’s Shout It Out doesn’t reverse this trend, it finds Hanson sounding rather staid, their love of classicist craft turning them into the youngest baby boomers on record. Here, Hanson take their cues from the late-‘80s records of Steve Winwood and Billy Joel -- the same texts that fueled the Jonas Brothers’ Lines, Vines & Trying Times, Nick Jonas’ solo joint, and, of course, Taylor Hicks’ entire career -- and winds up with an album that has the punch of Roll with It and the flash of The Bridge. Craftsmen that they are, Hanson are sharp enough to keep things tight, the songs and the album itself never lasting any longer than necessary, but the music itself is too finely honed: the hooks are worn down, and the performances too precise, leaving no impression outside of, “man those kids can still play.”

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