As their recent appearance with Westlife and JLS on 'The X Factor' proved - once again - when it comes to quality songs Take That operate in another world. The bitter pill for the heartthrob competition after they spend time with 'Progress' is that they'll need to work harder to try to get there and, if they ever manage to arrive, the group may have moved on to somewhere new.
The Chinese proverb that only a fool dips both feet in the water at the same time comes to mind while listening to this album. There are more electronic influences and mix-and-match moments, but fans are being coaxed along gently, with plenty of safe places like the gorgeous 'Wait' and closing ballad 'Eight Letters'. Whether you're in the perfect ending camp or think that Robbie Williams shouldn't have been rescued from the bargain bin, his return has given the quintet more of an edge musically, and having him to spark off (in the right way) bodes well for the future.
As befits its title, 'Progress' never sounds forced and is all about gains and losses. There's something genuinely heartwarming about five people who've seen the best and worst of each other finding a way to deal with the happy and sad and move on together. You sing along, read between the lines and come away thinking you've learned more about them, and perhaps yourself.