Little Big Town - Pain Killer

HumpHead Records

This high-energy quartet has established itself with a stellar live show, great stage presence and good old-fashioned hard work: they used to average over 200 shows a year in the southern states, and now have an ambitious across the board American and international schedule with a planned European tour for 2015. For this sixth album, Little Big Town took some time to craft and expand their sonic palette to almost epic proportions, unleashing an album that is their most powerful, sophisticated and, dare I say, wide-ranging work to date. Once gain they are working with producer Jay Joyce, who helped to propel 2012’s TORNADO to platinum status, and his touch is all over PAIN KILLER. He possesses this knack for bringing something new out of the foursome in terms of their diverse lead vocals and intricate harmonies and then adds to the mix a fresh, dynamic sonic sound that takes their music to a whole different level.

The album, book-ended by the foot-stomping opener Quit Breaking Up With Me and the reflective closer Silver And Gold, offers picturesque counterpoint with the pretty pop-country numbers Tumble And Fall and Live Forever. Day Drinkin’, the first single, which has Karen Fairchild on lead vocals, pulses with rhythm and swells with an infectious melody, inventive instrumentation, sunny pop vocal and lyrics to set you free. The title song is a hypnotic minor-key delight, again with full and exquisite harmonies and a slight reggae rhythm that is quite irresistible. Girl Crush is another standout song with an ingenious twist in the lyrics that has proved way too clever for American country radio—they’ve given the single the old cold shoulder. Good People is a hand-clapping pop tune with some inspired guitar lines in the background behind the call and response vocal attack.

This album comes from a group that has progressed sonically over the past couple of years, yet amongst the walls of vocal harmonies and rich instrumentation, the driving force behind Little Big Town remains the heartfelt lyrics which have typified their work since their eponymous debut album from a dozen years ago. In short, PAIN KILLER shows the progressive maturity of a consistently growing group.