Chase Rice has been gleefully described as “bro country”, and listening to debut album Ignite the Night you can definitely understand why. With songs titles like Look At My Truck and Beer With The Boys, the testosterone is practically palpable. But once you get past the racy lyrics and familiar song structures there’s something undeniably catchy embedded deep in the twang of Rice’s guitar.
True, neither originality nor subtlety are Rice’s strong points. Almost all of the songs are about women (Gonna Wanna Tonight, Ride, Carolina Can) or Rice’s conquests as a party-hard country singer from the South (We Goin’ Out, Jack Daniels and Jesus). However, there’s a relentless spirit to the album which is nigglingly catchy. Do It Like This, an ode to partying, flirting and beer drinking, is driven by a hard-hitting, hip-swinging rhythm and truly groovy slide guitar. Even the weird Stephen-Hawking style vocals on opening track Ready Steady Roll come off as gleefully cheesy rather than simply a musical gimmick. Often the songs feel like they drag on a little bit too long, with Rice’s lyrics clunky and cumbersome (“you’re on my side/i rub your thigh/you look in my eyes/and i just see the sky/i’m so high”), but the production is slick and the grooves easy enough to hum along to.
From the opening lyrics of the album – “Damn pretty girl you went and done it again/you gone and turned your sexy all the way up to ten” – Rice cranks his frat-boy mentality to maximum. But so too does he bring some solid country instrumentation and some undeniably catchy riffs. Definitely listen to this album with your tongue firmly planted in cheek.