Album Review: The Band Perry - Pioneer
By: Matt Bjorke
When new artists break-out with fantastically successful debut albums like The Band Perry did with The Band Perry, it can often and is often hard to follow-up such a big success of an album. So it's with great anticipation that I took to listening to Pioneer to see if the Republic Nashville family trio could come up with something that was as rootsy contemporary (oxymoronic saying?) as The Band Perry was.
Fans should be quite familiar with #1 hit single "Better Dig Two," a spirited uptempo ballad about a woman who proclaims a love so strong that if her man ever dies before her she'll go along with him. "Done" is the second single from the record and the theme of this one is the polar opposite of the record as it finds a woman tired with being put through the wringer time and time again by her man. And while these songs showcase the trio's bluegrass roots, they're by no means an exclusive indication of what TBP is going to sound like throughout the rest of Pioneer as the tracks both lean heavily on the pop side of Country's modern sonic ledger.
The record's title track is one of six songs written by The Band Perry with The Henningsens (who penned "All Your Life" and "You Lie" among other songs for the first album) and like the closing "End Of Time" there's an interesting and versatile bluegrass and acoustic basis to the tracks that gets a bit 'bigger' sounding in the choruses and meat of the tracks but they never get to the 'glossy' pop/rock sound of the lead singles from Pioneer do and that's a trend that is mostly balanced out throughout the record's twelve tracks.
Gifted with a powerful voice, Kimberly Perry really comes into her own throughout the course of Pioneer as she showcases this on "Forever Mine Nevermind" a song where her and Neil and Reid also showcases harmonies that could have the track competing with fun. for pop radio. In fact, it's hard to imagine that this song was co-written with Brad Paisley as it's an all-out pop song. This one alone with "Chainsaw" showcases that The Band Perry is able to deftly tow the line between modern Country Music and Pop better than perhaps any other artist on the charts these days.
Working with Dann Huff The Band Perry has been able to balance their pop and country tendencies and that makes them a Thoroughly Modern Country band who could very well be only a Pop band if they didn't love mandolins, banjos, fiddles and steel guitars as much as they do (must be that East Tennessee upbringing). Still, for every steel guitar lick there are pop hooks a plenty. Pioneer doesn't sound like anything else in Country Music and that may should be able enough to help keep the family band around for more than a few more years to come. In fact, we might be witnessing the next country/pop crossover to superstardom a la Taylor Swift.