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Album review: Gloriana's self-titled debut

August 3, 2009 |  3:53 pm
Gloriana240 On the debut album from young country quartet Gloriana, there's a real affection for the gender-war harmonies of Fleetwood Mac and the open-road earnestness of John Mellencamp. That these kids would turn so deeply to their parents' vinyl collection says a lot about their ambitions for a country-pop crossover: Make sure there's something for everyone, including the moms and dads who were in tow when Gloriana opened for Taylor Swift.

The four-part harmonies are the centerpiece on "Gloriana," and they add jubilance to workmanlike tracks about rustic hell-raising, like the breakout single "Wild at Heart." Gloriana is democratic about passing the lead microphone around, and that group-think yields some rousing moments, like the Journey-worthy rocker "If You're Leavin'," but sometimes sags into teary closing-credits fade-outs such as "Lead Me On."

Intriguingly, the best moments of "Gloriana" are the quietest. On album-closer "Time to Let Me Go," a sad little minor-key guitar and fiddle run feels almost spooky. Gloriana's pop acumen (and virtuoso hair-care abilities) are a sure bet to fill arenas very soon, but they shouldn't forget to toss an occasional "Landslide" in for the grizzled oldsters out there.

-- August Brown

Gloriana
"Gloriana"
(Warner Bros.)
Two stars
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