Album Review: The Band Perry – Pioneer
With the likes of Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum offering releases lately that further edge the country and pop genres closer together, a whole host of fellow country acts are lining up to follow in their footsteps and to take a slice of that successful crossover pie.
While Swift and Lady A continue to rule the crossover charts, another act has shown up on our radar recently – one that could quite easily take the country crossover crown.
From that release a string of hit singles saw light and made us fall in love with the bands energetic rhythms and toe tapping, pop lashings. They brought freshness to the country music scene, woven together with just the right amount of mainstream pop to tease a much larger audience toward Band Perry fandom and the trio have recently released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Pioneer, a follow up to that hugely successful debut.
The band starts the journey through Pioneer on successful ground with the records first two singles, the number 1 hit Better Dig Two and Top 10 hit Done, opening the album. Both tracks are quite contrasting in terms of their lyrical messages – the first playing out as a dark country hit full of jealousy and a sinister plot to kill a cheating partner as front man Kimberly declares at the closing of the hit, “I told you on the day we met, I was gonna love you till the days I’s dead” while the albums sophomore single, Done, is the best track on the album, hands down. Its rockabilly rhythm is contagious as the band bounce around a hit made up of infectious verse and chorus hooks and a danceable flow while the tracks inviting violins wreak sweet havoc within the number’s uplifting closing.
Sugar-coated balladry is out and proud on the record, starting with Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and, with a title like that, it is fairly inevitable that the tracks sashay through some of the albums most sentimental and metaphorical lyrics like “the night rolls on like a long lost friend till the sunrise bleeds like the bitter end” are going to do the album proud as it is delivered with splendor by the bands rocking front woman. It’s a fine start but it is the following string fuelled title track that impresses us the most in terms of the ballads on Pioneer with its gentle instrumentation and the siblings’ gorgeous harmonies which sway through one of the collections finest additions.
I Saw A Light is probably the most ‘country’ of all the tracks recorded for Pioneer. This one is another inclusion on the record bursting at the seams with sublime harmonies between the siblings and comes complete with a sweet, layered bridge. Set with grandeur into the latter half of the song, the bridge drips with strong pop characteristics, transforming the track from a country number into a song with an obvious mainstream pop appeal, a characteristic that The Band Perry have tapped into for the most part on Pioneer, allowing their records to bridge the gap between country and pop with ease.
Mother is a touching homage to the trio’s parent as they recite: “we’d walk on grass that’s greener and the dishes would all be cleaner if the world had a mother like mine”. Slightly cheesy lyrics but the song comes straight from the heart and you can hear that sentiment throughout the entire penning while on Chainsaw, the scorned lover we heard from Better Dig Two seems to be back as we are offered what sounds like a prequel to the opening track. Kimberley lets loose on the song, offering a track which tells of a woman cutting down and engraved tree, declaring in the tracks chorus “I ain’t gonna be happy until those names fall and I’m sittin’ on a stump” with clear satisfaction in her voice at the closing of the number.
I Am A Keeper is a musically vibrant addition to the record with an peppy piano bouncing through the track while Back To Me Without You offers Pioneer another vocally tight number with Neil and Reid taking on much more prominent vocal roles and a beautiful acoustic collision of instruments filling the tracks in nicely around Kimberly’s grief stricken lead vocals as the song pulls at the heart-strings.
Pioneer is a fantastic sophomore effort from one of country music’s most celebrated new acts. With the record hitting the top spot in the bands US homeland it is clear that there is a lot more to come from the trio and after listing to the band’s latest album we can understand just why The Band Perry appear to have the country and pop world in the palms of their hands.