You might be familiar with pretty-boy country duo Love and Theft from their first single, the phenomenally successful Angel Eyes, which topped the country charts and put the boys on the map. Unfortunately, their meteoric rise was cut short: after the success of Angel Eyes faded, the boys were barely able to scrape into the Top 40 again and were consequently dropped by their label RCA Nashville. Without the pressure of major-label success, their newest album Whiskey On My Breath allows the boys to be a little more authentic and open, with mixed results.
It seems like the album is divided into two camps: songs approaching the serious parts of humanity (Everybody Drives Drunk, Whiskey on my Breath) and old fashioned good-times-roll songs (Anytime Anywhere, Like I Feel It, Hang Out Hungover). Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself, except that the party songs feel pretty generic. Tracks like Can’t Stop Smiling or Easy are pleasant enough to listen along to, but lack any particularly noteworthy qualities. Whereas the heartfelt lyrics of the titular track (“What scares me to death/Is meeting Jesus with whiskey on my breath”) or the rollicking beat of Wrong Baby Wrong are almost enough to garner a second listening. There’s a slim handful of tracks which clearly stand out amongst the rest of the familiar booze-soaked summer anthems.
Between the standout singles, the rest of the album feels a little bit lazy. It’s clear that Love and Theft have a knack for crafting catchy hooks and hitting perfect harmonies, but they have plenty of potential which unfortunately just hasn’t been realised on this album.