British quartet Little Mix always has gone big on sound and spectacle, matching blowout hooks and riffs with a live show that rivals its on-record voltage. But the girl group, assembled in 2011 on The X Factor U.K. and primped by Simon Cowell to be a female One Direction, has struggled to find a stylistic through line to make it stand out, and that’s still evident on third album Get Weird.
The mood is bright and slicked-back, with feminist anthems that jump from blues-framed pop (“Grown”) to dead-on ’80s pastiche (“Get Weird”) and a cappella hymns (“The End”). The foursome sings ferociously and with expert ease, knocking down boys “like dominos” on the DJ Mustard-indebted “OMG” and getting “busy doing our 50 Shades” on the vamping “A.D.I.D.A.S.” They’re almost too in sync — it’s often impossible to distinguish one vocal from the next. That Little Mix hasn’t solved its identity crisis may further cramp long-thwarted plans to break stateside, but at least it sounds like the group is having a blast along the way.