These little rascals sure demonstrated they can sing and play their first time out, gaining instant impact at retail and radio with a mixture of youth-oriented country and well-executed ballads of sub

These little rascals sure demonstrated they can sing and play their first time out, gaining instant impact at retail and radio with a mixture of youth-oriented country and well-executed ballads of substance. They serve up more of the same on this sophomore release but up the ante in terms of song quality. Lead single "These Days" is a bittersweet midtempo, the title cut is romantic mood-inducing ballad, and spritely fiddle accents the crisp ear candy of "Love You Out Loud." Sometimes guilty of too much vocal gymnastics, they do serve up neat arrangements and impressive harmonies on cuts like "Mayberry" and "You" and effectively blend modern production techniques and traditional sensibilities on a powerful "Dry County Girl." There are plenty of potential hits here, particularly the soaring "Fallin' Upside Down," and the project reaches a zenith with vocal perfection on the superbly crafted "My Worst Fear" from Anthony Smith and Al Anderson. Perhaps too poppish for staunch traditionalists, Rascal Flatts nevertheless showcase mighty chops.—RW