Sound — 9
"Pioneer" even surpasses the first album "The Band Perry" from this highly innovative family. This is a stark contrast to the typical sophomore blues that plague most second pressings. Instead this band blazes ahead pumping out truly original music despite grueling touring demands. They even made time to soul search and grow during a songwriting hiatus. My mantra (see profile) states that different influences in country music are vibrant and electric. The Band Perry is one of the most creative crossover bands featuring an extraordinary variety of influences and a truly unique signature sound. This new release rocketed to a #1 debut on Billboard's Top Country Albums, and #2 on the pop album chart. For a relatively new band having signed with Republic Nashville in 2009, they have accumulated too many accolades to do justice to. 5 US Billboard #1 chartings, 3 Bob Kinsley #1's for "If I Die Young" (12/10), "All Your Life" (2/12) and even one from "Pioneer", "Better Dig Two" (2/13). Additionally they won the ACM Top New Artist & Top New Duo in 2010, CMA Song of the Year, Single of the Year and New Artist in 2011. The band has even been nominated for a Grammy in a category outside country music, Best New Artist. The pilgrimage the band took to focus on the new music in this CD wound through the Midwest and Southwest from Tennessee ending in California where they enjoyed swapping imagination with the legendary and always avant-garde Rick Rubin for two full weeks. Kimberly Perry wisely stated about the outing "Sometimes in life you wind up in a very different place than where you began, but it is exactly where you were meant to be" during an interview with USA Today. This bold use of precious time would become a defining element in the success of this effort.
Lyrics — 7
Unfortunately yet predictably they revisited the dark side of balladry with "Better Dig Two". Unabashedly reviving the successful theme of "If I Die Young" to capitalize. With the overuse of all black clothes during many of their TV appearances and apocalyptic prose, Perry seems to be obsessed with death and dying. Hasn't anyone mentioned teen suicide rates to the group? Conversely the soulful "Back To Me Without You" is pure magic. The rich arrangement, the brutal reflection, their operatic harmonies, the Celtic via Old-time music influences all come together perfectly. Kimberly spoke about the pain involved in such courageous deliberation quipping "... I hate (taking such advice from my brothers)", and sibling bassist Reid commented that his sister had actually cried while they were writing the song. Established veteran Brad Paisley had a hand in composing "Forever Mine Nevermind", and contributes guitar work on the recording. The artists themselves like the tune much better than I do, raving about it in the USA Today interview. The '80s rock tinged "Done" is much more powerful, and has performed impressively as the first release since the album debuted. It is up 2 slots to #16 this week (4/20/13) on Bob Kingsley's impeccable top 40. The other notable contributors are the synchronous family outfit The Henningsens, who co wrote many songs from both Perry collections. Pieces on their own CD "American Beautiful", out this summer, are also collaborations with the Perrys. My imagination runs wild when I listen to "Chainsaw" and of the upbeat offerings it is easily the most innovative. The live performance potential is limitless a la Wendy O. William's now trademark "Butcher Baby". Despite the sinister sounding title, the lyrics are quite charming.
Overall Impression — 9
The daring sound of The Band Perry is as close to '80s hair-band rock as Nashville has ever sanctioned. They have blended many incongruous elements effectively, a reflection that these close kin Kimberly, Neil and Reid have been perfecting their exclusive sound since childhood. The recent popularity of The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and many other retro-styled artists shows that audiences are hungry for their cutting edge blend. This melange seems so natural because it was actualized intuitively and organically rather than being forced or affected. Otherwise such a collage would not have the comfortably familiar ring of this combo. This is a must own and a must replace for anyone who appreciates Crossover Contemporary Country.