Anyone doubting that Gwen Stefani would reunite with the ska-pop band she formed in high school, after taking time off to launch a solo career and start a family, should take note: the group behind the Grammy-winning hits “Hey Baby” and “Underneath it All” have returned. There was good reason to be doubtful. The “Hella Good” singer had transformed herself into one of pop’s most visually arresting artists, with her own fashion line, L.A.M.B., and given birth to two sons with rocker Gavin Rossdale.
But Stefani’s bond with her bandmates obviously runs deep. No Doubt’s sixth studio release picks up where its last album, 2001’s Jamaican-influenced Rock Steady, left off. “Settle Down” boasts infectious dancehall beats and ska guitar, while the title track is a frenzied collaboration with Jamaica’s Busy Signal. But the album also includes love songs like “Undone” and such romantic synth tracks as “Heaven.” Stefani and her boys are back, without a doubt.