Take That, Progress (Polydor)
Those who imagined Take That's reunion album would be a predictable blending of forces will be shocked to hear Progress.
Rather than pop balladry, the album leans heavily on electronic beats and textures, and reflects misgivings about science and humanity. The robotic tint to vocals on tracks such as "Wait", "SOS" and "Kidz" hints at discomfiture with society, while the techno stomper "Under-ground Machine" reveals a dystopian take on boy-meets-girl. It's not all grim portents, though: "Eight Letters" is a gilt-edged Barlow romantic finale, while "Pretty Things", with courtly harpsichord and string tones, offers an engaging take on 60s madrigal-pop.
DOWNLOAD THESE: SOS; Kidz; Pretty Things; Eight Letters; Underground Machine