LITTLE BIG TOWN
The Breaker (Universal)
Poor Keith Urban, Adam Brand and The McClymonts have copped it in the neck in these parts recently for their wanton abandonment of anything like reality or truth or something connected to themselves in their cookie-cutter country pop records.
But really, what option – well, apart from being true to themselves, if they remember what that feels like – do they have when the behemoth country pop industry keeps shoving up through the floorboards acts like relative veterans Little Big Town, whose career began at the turn of the century?
Eerily, Karen Fairchild, Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman and Jimi Westbrook - who find themselves in Australia at the moment – look, sound and feel like an episode of Nashville come to life (think The Exes without heart and crossed with Autumn Chase). Or maybe that should be drained of life.
They are country music’s safe house when troubles hit.
In an Australian context, this quartet could be described as two Keiths and two McClymonts.
They can sing, they can play; they can sing and play together; they can sing and play together while smiling. They can sing and play together while smiling and singing lines that have been used so many times before it must be like eating the hole of a doughnut over and over.
They’ve got sweet male voices and sweeter-still female ones. They sing about love where “magnetic forces pull us close” and rhyme darkness falling and day is dawning.
At all times, even when singing sad songs or looking at “this beat up Bible …that old recliner, this little room” of a long gone loved one, they’re sunny and buoyant.
That becomes even more zestful when reminiscing about squashed car drives to the beach or the way the world is here to be enjoyed because, gosh darn it, we’re the luckiest people in this world.
Little Big Town rock a little, over razor sharp drums and pickup truck sound systems, but they’re happier to soft rock a bit more, with a tinkling piano over synths and lush vocal tones over a fourth generation Mark Knoffler guitar (Lost In California) or a Taylor Swift-penned pro forma ballad (Better Man).
But then they show their down to earth qualities by their fondness for driving around town “with no special place to go” to “get this party started”.
Though nothing tops the incongruous – for which you can read, hilariously earnest - exhortation to “start a revolution”. Yes, really, a revolution.
Like Our Keith, Our Adam and Our McClymonts, Little Big Town are as revolutionary as a shandy. But that’s the only sensible way to be, right Keith?