To say that Take That are the best advertisement for reunions would be an understatement and it’s hardly breaking new ground to say that they’re far better in everything they do this time 'round than they were when we were young enough to have their posters on the wall, but there’s a depth to their current releases that we might not have expected to emerge from the boy/manband sector of the music industry.
Like ‘Beautiful World’ before it, ‘The Circus’ will make a lot of people sit up and take notice, bringing with it the realisation that Take That are so much better when their end product is as a result of the combined efforts of all four of them. (I mean up until the likes of ‘Wooden Boat’ who knew that Jason Orange could sing and that he and Howard Donald weren’t just dancing extras?!)
‘The Circus’ sees the lads notch things up a gear or two since their last offering. It’s a varied and wide-reaching album, with the songwriting and vocals shared really cleverly. (You can’t imagine anyone else doing lead vocals on ‘Julie’ bar Mark Owen and that's how it is throughout.)
The album is filled with great pop tracks and catchy hooks but they’re not your typical smushy boy band ballads. The songs are all about storytelling - looking at the world from the middle of a great love story, gazing out at the passers-by with a broken heart for company and dwelling somewhere in between in a semi-confused state.
There are quirky numbers like ‘How Did It Come To This?’ and tracks that make you want to dance (in spite of the fact that you’re walking to work in the rain and people are looking at you oddly) - that’d be ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Hold Up A Light’ (and the extraordinary bonus track ‘Sleepwalking‘). And there’s also softer stuff, like the gentle take on a broken-man ballad that is ‘What Is Love?’. It's a little bit of something for everyone, brought together very seamlessly.
Ringmasters’ hats off to Take That. They just get better and better.