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Album Review

The Jonas Brothers, 'Lines Vines and Trying Times'

June 22, 2009
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Pop
The Jonas Brothers Lines, Vines and Trying Times
Hollywood
ESSENTIAL “Black Keys’’

The Jonas Brothers’ latest album, “Lines, Vines and Trying Times,’’ strains to propel the boys out of the candied world of pop-rock. Even the CD cover shows them posing with expressions of jaded sophistication, decked out in muted taupe and sensible khaki. On “Lines, Vines and Trying Times,’’ the brothers flex their writerly muscles with mostly self-penned lyrics and music. It’s a bricolage of genres, so bent on embracing a variety of musical forms that it sometimes borders on parody. “Don’t Charge Me for the Crime’’ an attempted foray into hip-hop that inexplicably features police sirens and rapper Common is a weird, echoey affair that boasts, “My friend gets in the car with bags/ Filled to the top with loads of cash/ And throws his pistol on the dash.’’ And “What Did I Do to Your Heart’’ is a country-flavored romp with soaring fiddles that is suspiciously reminiscent of Joe Jonas’s ex Taylor Swift at some points. (Speaking of Swift, she later gets burned in a not-so-oblique allusion: “Now I’m done with superstars/ And all the tears on her guitar.’’) But when the boys don’t try too hard, they come up with some sharp, sophisticated tracks, including “Paranoid,’’ with its twangy hook and smoky vocals. “Black Keys’’ - a fluid, earnest ballad written by youngest JoBro Nick - is refreshingly simple. For the Jonas Brothers, it might not be time to grow up just yet. (Out now)

LAURA BENNETT