Take That's Wonderland: What You Need To Know
As one of the best-selling British groups in history, Take That need little by way of introduction. This year marks their 25th anniversary and it looks set to be a bumper year for Take That fans, with a fifth Greatest Hits collection expected to arrive later in 2017 and the band about to embark on a UK tour in May and June.
But before all of that there's more immediate good news, with the band's eighth studio album, Wonderland, arriving in stores today. Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
Take That's previous album, III, arrived in 2014 on the back of the shock departure of Jason Orange, leaving the band as a three-piece comprising Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen. Not that any of that affected the album's commercial performance; III debuted at Number One in the UK Album Chart and broke pre-order records along the way.
Following an extensive tour to support the album throughout 2015, an announcement was made in February the following year that fans could expect a new album by the end of 2016. In the meantime however Gary Barlow has been busy with his judging duties on ITV's saturday night talent show Let It Shine, aiming to find performers to take part in the production of a Take That musical of the same name.
With the show having wrapped in February, Take That launched the lead-off single 'Giants' from their new album and unveiled the title and release date for Wonderland, which lands on the shelves in-store today (You can preview and purchase the album at the top right-hand side of this page).
Who's producing it?
Of the handful of producers who worked on Wonderland's predecessor, only Stuart Price has been retained for the band's eighth full-length offering, while the other producers added to the roster this time around include Mike Crossey, who recently handled production for The 1975's sophomore LP, Tony Hoffer, best known for his work on Beck's Guero and Midnite Vultures, and Mark Ralph, whose recent list of production credits includes work for the likes of Clean Bandit and Years & Years.
Any special guests?
Not in terms of performers, no, although there are a couple of additional songwriting credits for London-based songwriter Tom Baxter and Sweden's Simon Strömstedt. There is however a deluxe version of the album that includes 'Cry', the collaboration between Take That and Leeds-based EDM duo Sigma.
What does it sound like?
If you've already wrapped your ears around 'Giants', the album's lead-off single, then you'll know pretty much what to expect; this is an album of big, slick pop tunes with anthemic choruses and killer hooks, the kind of stuff that's catnip for their loyal fanbase and custom-designed to rock the big arenas they'll be filling on their upcoming tour.
Does it deliver?
Of course it does. Take That are old hands at this game now and they know their fanbase well enough to deliver exactly the kind of thing they want – which is handy, because it also happens to be the very same thing that they excel at. The producers brought in this time around have added a bit more of a contemporary edge to their sound, but Wonderland is a honed and refined model of the winning formula that has seen them sell millions of records and it's bound to go down a storm.