Love and Theft

The duo’s first album for RCA marks a second chance for members Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles after losing member Brian Bandas. The lack of a third harmony singer doesn’t temper this group’s energy and striking harmonies one iota.

This time around, they throw a little extra grit into their pop-country sheen. Strong opposing desires to run toward or away from a lover are the subject of the rock-influenced “Running Out of Air,” one of the strongest cuts on the disc.

Another choice track is the simmering R&B-flavored “Amen,” in which Sunday morning church is eschewed in favor of a romantic dalliance. The slow-burning “She’s Amazing” manages to sidestep clichés as the duo extols the innocent and wild virtues of the girl with a Mona Lisa smile. “Shake It” is one of the few subpar tracks on the album, but the poignant story song “Town Drunk” compensates.

The first single, “Angel Eyes,” aptly sums up this offering; it’s a little bit of country-pop heaven with a slight R&B wild side.

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