A defiantly funky extension of the 'Cake By The Ocean' success to a full-length studio project from Joe Jonas and co.
Look, I was a fan of the Jonas Brothers, but eight years have passed since those trying times of 12-year-old me and those days of Disney-fuelled pop-rock are certainly over for Joe, who initially followed the uninteresting steps of his brother Nick on an overproduced R&B-like route. DNCE, however, is an 80s-infused culmination of him being unsure about his solo career and living with eventual bandmate Jack Lawless. Comprising Jonas on vocals, Lawless on drums, JinJoo Lee on guitar, and Cole Whittle on bass and keyboards with backing duties shared around, the band takes evident inspiration from a bizarre amalgamation of the likes of Electric Light Orchestra, Sly & The Family Stone, Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince, the Bee Gees, and Led Zeppelin. Lee and Lawless have both previously toured with the old family band, whereas Whittle rose to fame as the bass player for alternative rock band Semi Precious Weapons. Put these artists in a melting pot, DNCE would be the result.
It’s somewhat of a shame that this self-titled record wasn’t released earlier because, sharing an identity with the SWAAY EP that spawned spring breakout ‘Cake By The Ocean,’ it’s totally a summer record. Standout moments like ‘Doctor You,’ ‘Good Day,’ ‘Blown,’ ‘Zoom,’ ‘Pay My Rent,’ and ‘Body Moves’ are songs you can clearly envision belting from your room in the height of the heat, not mid-November. DNCE’s rare ability – at least in pop music’s current state – to intertwine long-forgotten genres into such feel-good hooks that fit the template of 2016 shows well, and the only true qualm with the record is the inclusion of ‘Truthfully’ and ‘Almost,’ two ballads which break up the record’s upbeat theme. As beautiful as they both are, their main effect is to detract from the fast pace of the rest.
Even so, DNCE’s debut is pleasantly surprising, serving a delicious main course as the best starting point for the band following the flash success that surrounded their first single. DNCE is not a record for those seeking commentary on the current socio-political climate – rather, it’s one for those looking for 49 minutes of carefree escape from life to obsess over that signals a long run in this game for sure.
DNCE is out now via Republic Records