Lady Antebellum's 'Golden' review: True to form
Lady Antebellum has a problem that most bands would love to have: They have more talent than they can handle.
Both of Lady A's singers -- Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley -- have distinctive, likable voices, and they write most of their songs, along with guitarist Dave Haywood. The trio has cultivated a winning sound that has dominated the country charts for years, and on their fourth studio album, "Golden" (Capitol), that doesn't change.
"Goodbye Town" fits their popular formula, with Scott and Kelley duetting and harmonizing over a wistful country arrangement similar to their smashes "Need You Now" and "Just a Kiss." For the future sing-along "Generation Away," they show some ambition, looking to create music with lasting appeal like Bob Dylan before combining it with "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." They crank up the rock guitars on the Tom Petty-ish "Better Off Now (That You're Gone)" and crank up the cuteness on the first single "Downtown," where Scott gets to show off a bit more sass than usual.
And it's "Downtown" that points out how all that Lady A talent may not always be a good thing, since all the harmonies and the guitar solos compete too much with Scott's cool vocal. Sometimes, singing things straight can be stronger, as Scott and Kelley show in "All For Love," where they trade solo verses instead of harmonizing together.
Lady A seems to be coming to terms with that on "Golden," picking approaches that suit the songs best, rather than what keeps all the talented folks occupied most.
BOTTOM LINE Finding themselves without disrupting the country harmony