Canny lads, Take That. Four years ago, just as the shine was wearing off the novelty of their return, they reunited with Robbie Williams and produced Progress, the album of their career and the first to receive across the board critical acclaim. Hell, even the NME liked it.
Since then, Robbie has gone again and other acts have lined up to take their place as the nation’s favourite. Then three months ago, Jason Orange’s departure gave them a barrage of publicity, ahead of the release of III, and now single These Days, which sounds uncannily like a Robbie Williams solo effort, has nudged Band Aid 30 of the top of the charts and the album looks likely to do the same with Olly Murs this weekend.
After the jaw-dropping Progress – which took the youngsters on at their own game and won – the stakes are high for III. Can they cut it without Robbie (again)?
III isn’t as tight or consistent a set as its predecessor and could do with losing a track or two of conveyor belt pop, but when they push the boat out they’re capable of great things: the squelchy pop of I Like It could be the Pet Shop Boys and they might look a bit dads-down-the-disco singing it live, but on record it’s pretty much flawless.
Gary’s talent for a ballad hasn’t deserted him, either: Flaws is big but not overly sentimental and Amazing, included on the deluxe edition only, is one of those that sounds like it was knocked off in half an hour but is still an awesome Radio 2 ballad Richard Carpenter or Paul McCartney would be proud of. They’re both brilliant.
Like this? Try these: Paul McCartney and Wings, Band on the Run; Robbie Williams, Take The Crown.
By Andrew Greenhalgh