Most successful acts develop a comforting brand identity that forges ahead of them, priming listeners for their music. But despite having sold 10 million copies of their Songs About Jane debut, Maroon 5 have yet to establish a distinctive image. They seem to be trying to be all things to all punters, combining the unthreatening appeal of a boy band with the slickness of R&B, the catchy mundaneness of chart pop, and the long hair of heavy rock. The situation is slightly improved by It Won't Be Soon Before Long, on which the band attempt to re-define themselves as camp falsetto popsters in the vein of Mika and Scissor Sisters, by accessing the Eighties disco-soul sounds of acts such as Chic, Hall & Oates, Patrice Rushen and Prince in impeccably manicured arrangements which elevate the slick inanities of their lyrics to stadium-anthem size. There's a perky charm and vitality about songs such as "Little Of Your Time" and "Wake Up Call", but like the band's image, their impact seems to evaporate immediately after hearing them.
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