It’s technically only been three years since Maroon 5’s breakthrough hit “This Love,” but judging by the title of their sophomore effort, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, the band has been experiencing performance anxiety induced by the unusually lengthy chunk of time since their 2002 debut. They’re down a drummer (founding member Ryan Dusick exited the group due to health reasons and was replaced by touring musician Matt Flynn) but luckily Maroon 5 hasn’t lost its mojo. Lead single “Makes Me Wonder” is a worthy successor to “This Love”; it’s a catchy disco-rock confection with the elastic strut of Jamiroquai and the soul-pop warmth of Stevie Wonder. Singer Adam Levine delivers one kiss-off after the next, which range from nasty (“If I Never See Your Face Again,” “Wake Up Call”) to cordial and even reluctant (“Nothing Lasts Forever,” “Better That We Break”); none of the songs exceed four minutes, and some even clock it at less than two-and-a-half, making the album an appropriately brief but decidedly sexually-charged encounter. “Sweet kiwi, your juice is drippin’ down my chin,” Levine sings on “Kiwi,” a Prince-esque track accessorized with female vocals, heavy breathing, lipstick-smearing, back-scratching, and an explosive dual-guitar climax. The gushy ballads, some of which draw on pop melodies similar to the band’s hit “She Will Be Loved,” however, are even ickier than the sexual innuendos of the uptempo tracks. It’s the white-boy funk of “Makes Me Wonder,” “Little Of Your Time,” and “Not Falling Apart,” which apes The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” far more slyly than the blatant “Won’t Go Home Without You,” that keeps the album from going limp and will likely prevent Maroon 5 from suffering the dreaded sophomore slump.
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