Hanson - Middle Of Nowhere (Mercury) Hanson are three brothers from Oklahoma, aged 11, 13 and 16, and all sporting that all-too-familiar blond, headbanging-friendly hair. They could have been just another rock 'n' roll nightmare, a clone of Australian band silverchair - or pretenders to that post-grunge collegiate throne. Thankfully, instead of the pretentious hollow odes of masochism which bands such as Bush flog without shame, the Hanson boys play pop. If comparisons must be drawn, imagine the 1970s' Jackson 5 on a time warp to the 90s, where they merge soul values with the funk factors of the Dust Brothers and Steven Lironi, the production men behind Beck and Black Grape respectively. Despite bearing the weirdest name for a song this side of the New Year, MMMBop - with its hare-brained but catchy chorus - will probably end up as that inevitable summery theme tune in many a discotheque in the United States by the time the vacation season comes around. Equally radio-friendly are Speechless and Where is the Love, songs of such teenage ignorance they sound good. In line with the corporate ritual that binds the American music industry, half of every band's release should be the obligatory dose of guitar slush. In Middle Of Nowhere, listeners should ignore tracks such as Lucy - which sounds exactly like the Jackson 5 in the 1970s - and Madeline, a country-tinged track which comes over like leftovers from a dish of Hootie and the Blowfish, of all people. The last time a musical act with a banal surname-moniker successfully flashed its wares was a nerd named Beck, who single-handedly re-injected much-lacked creativity and coolness into the American musical scene. Hanson are still far away from that, but then the youngsters have lots of time for improvement.