Friday, 30 September 2011
Lady Antebellum - Own The Night
Own The Night was released in the US last week to staggering sales figures - 347,000 copies in one week. Wow! When you remember that the group have six Grammy awards under their belt though, the hype and acclaim around them seems completely justified.
We Owned The Night is surprisingly upbeat for such a sombre title - a real jumpy, springy track. It's good to see the band kicking the album off with a proper upbeat number the first of many signs that this is a band unwilling to sit on their laurels.
Even by second track Just A Kiss you can tell Own The Night is an infinitinely more confident, well-rounded affair than Need You Now was. The production is big, glossy - but doesn't ever cheapen their sound. The tracks still feel authentic, genuine. If anything, this new, slicker Lady Antebellum seems in a better position to put out epic ballads like this. The guitar work sounds a lot cleaner, and the strings are applied liberally across the LP.
On the whole, the album feels like its moved the band closer to pop sensibilities and further from their country roots. They've not concreted over the country sound, merely re-rendered it under a pop paint job. It's in achieving the right balance that affirms Own The Night's quality as a consistent body of work.
Every track is suffused by a buoyed up, cinematic portrayal of romance it - of course, if you go to buy a Lady Antebellum CD, chances are that's probably what you want/expect. One thing that does come as a surprise is Friday Night; a sprightly, Bon Jovi-esque bit of 'real rock'.
When You Were Mine is the real highlight of the album and also sees it at its most pop. It's the kind of track UK girl-group Wonderland would have killed for to have on their album (they who covered Need You Now and were set to release it as a single before they were swiftly axed by their label).
The funky groove and rosy, full-bodied choruses of Singing Me Home almost verges into Beautiful South territory while Wanted You More is the album at its most epic and cinematic, but also its most experimental, with lovely little piano flourishes. As the record comes to a close, we see an impression of a band clearly not content to merely wheel out twelve tracks of identical crowd-pleasers, there is a real sense of ambition.
It's time for the UK to wake up to just how good Lady Antebellum are.
Own The Night is released on the 3rd October and can be pre-ordered here.