If yesterday's review of Little Mix's new album didn't prove that musical preconceptions can be false, DNCE certainly will. The dance rock group, probably more known as Joe Jonas's new musical project, is here with one of 2016's grooviest records yet with their self-titled DNCE.
DNCE is no Jonas Brothers rip off. It's like the lovechild of The 1975 and Two Door Cinema Club. It's laced with sugary guitar chords and a R&B flair, creating a textbook definition of funk rock. The album kicks off with the eponymous track 'DNCE,' beginning with a sweet harmonies as the group spells out the band's name. It carries through with some bright, punchy synths and optimistic brass above the sweet instrumental. Jonas' vocals are full of groove in a very smooth way. 'Body Moves' follows up with a crunchy bassline and some sweet melodies backing it. The choruses burst with funky flair, the bridge bursting with a crunchy guitar riff that builds up with brass support to lead it into the sparkly break.
A lot of this album feels like a big party. 'Cake By The Ocean' is one song that really finds itself in that setting. The dancey bassline repeating throughout the record, the choruses exploding with sparkling synth chords and great melodies. The guitar work is fantastic, while understated, especially in the second verse. It rings so groovily and sugary, it feels likes its dancing completely separately from the track. 'Doctor You' follows up in much the same way, Jonas' vocals smoothly and sensually resonating above the crunchy riff. The melodies are the ear candy of the song, very bombastic and proud. The song 'Naked' later on in the record also features the bombastic vibe. some falsetto vocals from JinJoo Lee giving the song a fresh palette.
There are a lot of great songs on this record, but several of them are just that - good songs building off the same vibes. No track is a carbon copy of the other, but often times the songs cling to a specific vibe. 'Be Mean' has the same proud and bright vibes of 'Naked,' albeit a bit masochistic, but doesn't try to move on from that. Laidback tracks like 'Almost' ring sweetly in the otherwise upfront tracklist, but 'Truthfully' repeats this formula, with less build to a climax and with more of a pop vibe. The easygoing, lazy 'Good Day' has that laidback structure that really builds the entire album, except that it doesn't use other elements to make it seem otherwise.
DNCE is a surprising threat to pop and funk music. This unexpected group abandons preconceptions and has an infectious sound that ranks amongst the top contenders of the genre. DNCE is a great debut - a great album to jam out to in any scenario. There's promise in this band.
Favorite Tracks: Cake By The Ocean, Doctor You, Almost
Least Favorite Track: Zoom
Rating: 80 / 100