Album review: "The Quest for the 7 Jones"
On new mini-album "The Quest for the 7 Jones," Pants Velour invokes Nine Inch Nails and "American Pie," among other bands and songs. But this lively New York septet draws mostly on today's pop-soul and yesterday's hip-hop. Lead singer Niki Darling has one of those rafter-scraping voices that has become standard since "American Idol" transformed pop music into an athletic contest. Yet songs in which she takes the spotlight are rare; she's usually interrupted by smart-aleck rappers Josh Raff and Eli Northrup.
Pants Velour is probably best known for its YouTube hit "Charlie Sheen - Always Winning." Wisely, Northrup and his pals left that fast-aging goof off this album in favor of such tunes as "All I Need" and "I Found You," which balance smirky in-jokes against Darling's straightforward pleas for love.
The group's four instrumentalists provide solid support, allowing the three vocalists to shift easily between pop, rap, rock, reggae and trip-hop. But the result is a little too facile. Rather than work toward its own style, Pants Velour has taken a mix-and-match approach that's proficient but unsurprising.
--Mark Jenkins, Jan. 13, 2012