Andy Gill on albums: Hanson - Middle of Nowhere Mercury 534 615- 2

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The Independent Online
Straight in at No 1 with the insanely catchy, if ungrammatical, "MMMBop"; chart-toppers on both sides of the Atlantic; all that long blond hair, all those pearly-white teeth; worst of all, American teen upstarts Hanson can actually play their instruments.

The instinctive temptation is to sneer, but Middle of Nowhere quickly wipes the smile off your face. Brothers Isaac (16, guitar), Taylor (14, keyboards) and Zachary (11, drums) were raised on a staple diet of Sixties classic pop, rock and soul, and it shows: their style is largely untainted by the stylistic compromises of the last decade or two, resting instead on a solid bed of funky R&B grooves and classic pop harmonies. Small wonder, then, that "MMMBop" comes across like the Velvets' "Sweet Jane" with bum- fluff on its chin and soul in its heart. Catch them quick, before their voices break.