Rachel Timberlake is aiming to be the next country-rock diva à la Carrie Underwood, and she just might make it. There’s no song as catchy here as Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”, but Timberlake’s voice is sassy and serviceable, and the record wisely minimizes slow, heartfelt weepers in favor of rollicking tunes like “Inside Satisfied”, “Bigger Better Deal” and the intriguingly-titled “Jesus Is for Losers”. With “Girls Are the New Boys”, Timberlake positions herself as an unlikely feminist icon, encouraging girls to stop listening to their husbands and, more or less, party hearty.
What makes this record such a solid get-up-and-dance album is Timberlake’s backing band, which features JD Simo’s sliding, scratchy, coyote-howl guitar and a solid rhythm section that ensures the energy rarely flags. A few missteps occur—the Vocoder-treated remix called “Girlz R tha Nu Boyz” is just plain awful—but nothing sinks the album completely. Timberlake’s voice is as familiar and comfortable as a flannel shirt and goes down as easy as a Bud Light. Anyone seeking a new honky-tonk darling is encouraged to give a listen.
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// Notes from the Road
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