Shades of The Who, Bryan Adams and Steve Miller lurk in these grooves.
Midnight Memories (* * * out of four, out Monday) isn't exactly One Direction's rock album — an ebullient rock influence always has distinguished the British quintet from lesser boy bands — but it's definitely more guitar-based than the two previous albums.
Midnight uses classic rock as a color the way last year's Take Me Home used electronic dance music. It's not just the way Best Song Ever cheerfully cops The Who's Baba O'Riley; parents of the group's core fan base may hear Bryan Adams and Steve Miller echoed here, as well. The band also pulls in elements of power pop in the shouted choruses of the riffy title track and the trebly guitar chords of Little Black Dress.
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Many boy bands, by their third albums, have started to show the cracks in their artifice. Yet One Direction still appears to be developing, with some members — notably, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne — emerging as solid songwriters. The best songs here, such as current single Story of My Life, suggest the group's finest memories may still lie ahead.
Download: Story of My Life, Midnight Memories, Don't Forget Where You Belong, Through the Dark