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Little Big Town were steadily building their reputation as Nashville superstars when they caused controversy with the rather genius Girl Crush in 2014. While they had already attained the #1 spot two years earlier with Pontoon, Girl Crush made them a talking point of the wider music community as opposed to just country elite. A year later they teamed up with Pharrell for a brief dalliance with a poppier sound. With their country fans were dismayed with the actually rather inspired effort, the quartet have hurried in with it’s follow-up, The Breaker. Can the release patch up the break-up with their core audience?
Headed up by a breezy Taylor Swift penned number, LBT’s core audience whooped with applause at the return to their original sound. Having completely overlooked Wanderlust, which saw LBT grow and flourish as artists, they simply craved more of what they already knew and loved. Better Man romped to #1 in the country charts, and while it won’t be remembered as one of their finest moments, it certainly ticked the right boxes.
Thankfully the remainder of The Breaker doesn’t simply re-hash their earlier recordings in the name of popularity. Having learned from their Pharrell excursion, LBT do return to the country harmonies that everyone knows and loves, but it is with an added, more subtle pop undertone, which will assist them in the long-term crossover success that they clearly now crave.
While producer Jay Joyce and the quartet have crafted a sound that is relevant to the here and now, it is conversely the old school timelessness that makes this pop country effort such a runaway success. Centering flawlessly on the striking vocals and spine tingling harmonies that define the group’s sound, it is strange to think the campaign was started by the album’s weakest cut.
With the heart warming Free and tear-inducing heartbreak of When Someone Stops Loving You delivering unforgettable, show-stopping moments, it is in the punch of We Went To The Beach and Rollin’ that the band really shine. However, it is the Lori McKenna and Hailey Whitters co-write Happy People that steals the show and should be their next single.
The Breaker is the perfect offering from a band who have annoyed their fanbase with an experimental release. While it is blissful, beautiful and packed with unforgettable songs, we urge those who overlooked its predecessor back to back with The Breaker and re-assess the identity of the artists at it’s helm. They are skilled vocalists who can conquer any sound and should not be restricted by their audience as they move ahead with their career.Share