With their fresh-faced good looks, sunny demeanor, and earnest optimism, this coed quartet establishes itself as a big target out of the box for those leery of yet another sticky dose of vaporous pop

With their fresh-faced good looks, sunny demeanor, and earnest optimism, this coed quartet establishes itself as a big target out of the box for those leery of yet another sticky dose of vaporous pop country. No doubt there's an element of that here, but the well-crafted songs and vocals of Little Big Town triumph over previous conceived notions. Crisp acoustic guitars and driving production drive the CSN&Y-ish "Pontiac" and atmospheric "From This Dream," while "Everything Changes" evokes a level of pre-nostalgia only 20-somethings can muster. Cool organ and tasteful dobro licks bracket the soaring "Don't Waste My Time," and such cuts as "Tryin' " and "Somewhere Far Away" boast big production, effective chord changes, and assertive lyrics. In the way of ballads, "Stay" is served well by subtle acoustic instrumentation and understated vocals. In total, it's an attractive sonic package made for quality speakers, and there's no denying this potent vocal powerhouse. Nashville got it right this time.—RW

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