The first full-length album of new material from Busted since 2004's A Present for Everyone, 2016's Night Driver finds the British trio having evolved from a rambunctious pop-punk outfit into a slick, sophisticated purveyor of synthy, dance-ready pop and soul.
Thankfully, his bandmates convinced him that they were all finally on the same page.
Recorded in Los Angeles with producer John Fields (Switchfoot, Jonas Brothers, Jimmy Eat World), Night Driver is an attractive album of hooky, neon-lit anthems that straddle the line between club-ready '80s R&B and synthy, bass-heavy alt-pop.
And it's not just the band's musical influences that have changed.
Gone is the youthful pop cheekiness (and spiky, frosted-tipped hair), replaced by something tastefully wry, with an added air of hard-won maturity.
As Bourne sings on "On What You're On," "She has a kind heart, kind enough to take the time to come save my soul/I'm so over misbehaving/She's optimistic 'bout the future of her planet/And the smile that's on her lips, oh, it must be the Xanax." If Busted were once the poster boys for entitled middle-class rebellion, Britain's answer to blink-182, here they are reformed punk playboys, thirty-something lover men with families and, as evidenced by the funky title track, an ear for VH1-steeped AOR grooves.
Cuts like "Out of Our Minds," "New York," and "Without It," with their real and programmed drums, chorus-dipped electric guitars, and shimmering, Casio-sounding keyboards seem like they could have come from adult-contempo heroes like Hall & Oates, Glass Tiger, or Phil Collins.
Similarly, tracks like the buoyant "One of a Kind" and the infectious, disco-funk-inflected single "On What You're On," with its gloriously gratuitous jazz sax solo, seem to bridge the stylistic gap between Thriller-era Michael Jackson and contemporary acts like Daft Punk and Maroon 5.
Ultimately, it's the stylistic gap between how Busted sounded in 2004 and how they sound in 2016 that makes Night Driver so fascinating.
Of course, despite their original pop-punk label, Busted were always more of a lyrical boy band than a snotty rock act, a kind of punkish millennial take on the Raspberries, less of a threat to the monarchy than to a teenager's affections.
Thirteen years on, that's still who Busted are, just three grown-up lads supplying a soundtrack to a night out on the town, even if their fans are now just as likely to be picking their kids up that night as hitting the clubs.