Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEW

M5 long on effort, short on funk

At the House of Blues, the quintet's boogie-pop sound is a crowd pleaser, but the lyrics are white-bread.

September 29, 2003|Natalie Nichols | Special to The Times

Remember Wild Cherry's big hit, "Play That Funky Music"? For a kid listening to the radio in 1976, it was a novelty song with bite, thanks to the Ohio quintet's gut-grabbing blend of R&B and rock. L.A.'s Maroon 5 occasionally echoed that old tune Saturday during its House of Blues performance. But in the case of this youth-oriented quintet's slick boogie-pop, it was more like don't play that funky music, white boys. Please.

Not that the kids weren't dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin' while giving up the hometown love on this first of three consecutive sold-out nights. But selections from M5's debut album, "Songs About Jane," were as bland and safe as milk. It's the kind of thing designed to appeal to young folks ready to move past 'N Sync and Christina and on to big-people stuff: a band that sounded like teen-poppers playing rock instruments.

The set also hit notes of hippie rock and heartland soul, but such numbers as "Harder to Breathe" and "Not Coming Home" strongly recalled later-period 'N Sync, albeit with more angst and way less memorable hooks. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if these guys actually had cut their teeth on teen pop, but, except for guitarist James Valentine, M5 used to be the equally unimpressive '90s indie-rock band Kara's Flowers. So its turn toward funk-flecked pop-rock felt purely opportunistic.

Still, the band members worked hard and played competently, and the kids certainly had fun. But the songs' by-the-numbers sentiments about winning love, enduring heartbreak and splitting up were barely even skin deep, and not a single note was memorable.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|