Can Pentatonix keep a cappella alive? With Glee done and Pitch Perfect entering over-wrought franchise territory, it’s a slippery slope for the Sing-Off winners and viral sensations. PTX’s fourth LP is their first to contain predominantly original material — a major turning point for any artist best known for covers, and especially so for one with a fervent fanbase already in place. Pentatonix is sweet, charming and filled with vocal talent, but it lacks any oomph to go with their well-honed chops. The lyrics are often cheesy, like on the unforgivably cliche-laden “Sing” (“I don’t know what you’ve been told/But music make you lose control”), and musically, much of the album evokes Imagine Dragons-lite via tepid experimentations in EDM-ish pop-rock with a beatboxer instead of a laptop.
There are a few moments of pop bliss peppered throughout the LP. “Rose Gold” is a sexy, soulful tune where the chorus of “We could be timeless/We could be classic/We could be stars/We could be rose gold” is sung with an appealingly sparse quality. The doo-wop sound of “Misbehavin'” is fun without feeling kitschy, and “Ref” has just the right amount of dubstep wubbing. Still, it’s the one cover on the album proper that sticks out: Jason Derulo’s perfect assist on a cappella classic “If I Ever Fall in Love” by Nineties R&B act Shai brings much-needed tension and drama to this too-easy album by a band that’s still searching for an identity.