The first boy band to score a number one without the aid of reality TV since Blue in 2001, five-piece the Wanted have played a big part in resurrecting the previously dying genre. The fact that first single "All Time Low" didn't receive huge X-Factor-style publicity, and was even snubbed by Radio 1, makes their success even more impressive. Their self-titled first album suggests that chart domination isn't unlikely to end soon. With an eclectic sound taking in indie, rock, dance, and pop, the Wanted are truly a modern boy band, a million miles away from the safe, ballad-heavy housewife's favorites Boyzone and Westlife. Indeed, the Wanted is a far more accomplished and inventive a listen than the formulaic and repetitive debut from JLS, undoubtedly their closest contemporaries. "Let's Get Ugly" is a Kasabian-esque indie dance crossover, which samples The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly theme; "Say It on the Radio" is pulsating, synth-led R&B, reminiscent of Taio Cruz's two chart-toppers, while "Weakness" is infectious electro with shades of Pet Shop Boys' more recent output. The anthemic choruses of "Replace Your Heart" and "Personal Soldier" could easily have been lifted from Take That's comeback album, but undoubtedly, it's Coldplay who provide the album's surprising main influence. Both "All Time Low" and "Behind Bars" combine Viva la Vida-style strings with uplifting epic pop, while Jay sounds uncannily like Chris Martin himself on the gorgeous, piano-led Parachutes-era sounding "Hi and Low." Even the ballads avoid descending into generic schmaltz, with the big beats of "Golden" echoing One Republic's "Apologize," while second single "Heart Vacancy" is a subtle attempt at soulful R&B which showcases the band's impressive vocals. With several tracks aping the sounds of recent chart singles, the Wanted might not be the most original debut album, but thanks to its adventurous nature, it should appeal to even the most hardened pop cynics.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien